Since de-linked issuance trusts radically changed the credit card sector three years ago, larger, more liquid tranches have led the card ABS to become increasingly corporate bond-like, with Citibank pricing a 12-year deal last year, aimed specifically at corporate investors. As the de-linked structure was adapted to the other major issuers in the sector, the next evolutionary step - medium-term notes - may also be born from the corporate market, said one banking pro.

Steve Etherington, first vice president at Bank One N.A., speaking theoretically, said that the next structural development might be the development of an MTN-like program within the master note trust structure. "I think there is a growing need for off-year bonds, placed in small amounts, for portfolio managers to add to their portfolios," said Etherington. "These would be single-investor negotiations," he added.

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