U.K. bank Northern Rock returned to the market recently with the third deal in the Granite series. Called Granite 00-2, the GBP1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) transaction is backed by a pool of residential mortgages originated by the bank. As on the first two issues, J.P. Morgan was arranger and lead manager. Merrill Lynch, ING Barings and Salomon Smith Barney were brought in as co-leads.

The underlying portfolio consisted of almost 26,000 loans worth around GBP1.6 billion and with an average loan to value of 66.8%. The loans are concentrated fairly evenly throughout England and Wales.

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