With its new private-label credit card issuance program, Conseco Inc. is targeting homeowners in an attempt to "cross-sell" into mortgage products such as home-equity and home-improvement loans, said vice president and Treasurer of Conseco's Finance unit, Phyllis Knight.

The $602 million floating-rate offering priced last Tuesday via Credit Suisse First Boston with discount margins of 32 and 95 basis points over one-month Libor, respectively, and was backed by consumer loans originated primarily by home improvement chains and recreational vehicle retailers.

Of the loans in the pool, approximately 21% came from receivables generated by Menard Inc., the third-leading home improvement retailer, and approximately 18% came from recreational vehicles, said a source close to the deal.

The idea, according to Knight, was to focus on borrowers who were likely to also be home-owners and build a relationship that may lead to future mortgage lending with these consumers.

"There are very few soft goods in this portfolio, clothing and electronics for example, because much of that type of financing is promotional-driven with a high propotion of first-time credit seekers," Knight said. "With this program we wanted to focus on home-owners with established credit and then hopefully sell these consumers mortgage and home-equity related loans in the future," she added.

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