As the issue of predatory lending captures the media's attention - at its peak, hitting the front page of the New York Times - "subprime" has become the buzzword for evil banking. But from an asset-backed perspective, this negative press could have real implications on home-equity product, depending - for the short term, at least - on the response from investors.

"In terms of the bonds itself, it's possible that [this attention] can hurt the demand, because if investors are worried about having to explain it to their bosses, or whatever, they may be less likely to buy this stuff," said Dan Castro, head of ABS research at Merrill Lynch. "If that's the case, it could mean that it's more expensive for the subprime issuers to issue bonds."

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