Last week, researchers at Credit Suisse First Boston released their February Credit Card Performance Overview, in which the bank tracks changes in excess spread, losses and portfolio yield, among other statistics, for 27 credit card trusts.

Anomaly retail issuer Fingerhut showed the largest spike in excess spread, up 164% month-over-month to 11.22% (from 4.24% in December). Fingerhut's portfolio yield in January was a whopping 43.69%, while its loss rate was a whopping 25.30%.

CSFB attributes the spike in portfolio yield to seasonal patterns, driven by the increased use of retail cards during the holiday season.

Interestingly, Wachovia's credit card master trust posted the steepest decrease in excess spread over the same time period, which is largely accountable to a "technical adjustment" as First USA - which acquired Wachovia's portfolio last year - incorporated the bank's servicing system into its own platform, CSFB said.

Meanwhile, on the residential ABS side, CSFB introduced a new "repo refi" index in its monthly Manufacts, which tracks statistics in the manufactured housing sector. CSFB started publishing the research in January of this year.

"This repo index should allow a timely tracking of changes in that component of the inventory overhang," said Rod Dubitsky, researcher at CSFB and report author.

Repo refis, which occur when manufactured housing units are repossessed and then refinanced by a new borrower, have received much attention over the last year, as the contracts began increasingly showing up way in collateral pools beginning late 1999 and early 2000.

Interestingly, Dubitsky points out that some of the larger manufactured housing issuers have begun selling repossessed units at dedicated "sale centers." Though it's too early to tell, this is expected to improve recoveries. Industry sources have reported the actual performance of the loans themselves may be improved, Dubistky said.

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