The Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) and the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA) have formed a joint CMBS Loan Documentation Integrity Task Force. The new entity plans to address problems arising from incomplete or defective loan files before they have a significant impact on the CMBS industry. Loan file defects could impair the servicers' ability to preserve and protect the underlying collateral in case of loan defaults. In addition, loan sellers could be required to repurchase mortgage loans in cases where incomplete loan files exist.

Bear, Stearns International nabbed a team from Nikko Principal Investments to expand its fixed income and derivatives businesses outside the U.S. Andrew Clapham, a managing director at Nikko and head of its principal investments, joins Bear's London division as a managing director and head of asset-backed finance for Europe and Asia. Joining Clapham from Nikko are Scott Dickens as managing director and Adam Wilton. In addition Stephen Murray a vp from Moody's Investors Service and Rick Watson, a Bear Stearns managing director, join as part of the team. Clapham will spearhead the effort, which will focus on principal business and higher margin agency securitizations.

Bear Stearns said in a press release that it has been expanding all of its business with particular emphasis on investment banking, European equities and fixed income. Further hires are expected.

An executive vice president of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., whose current responsibilities as head of fixed income include oversight of the firm's mortgage-backed securities unit has been elected chairman of The Bond Market Association's board of directors. The new chairman, Warren J. Spector, will succeed David R. Warren, managing director in Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Co. Inc.'s securitized products group.

In addition, the trade group has named Jeffrey Mayer, a senior managing director in the Bear Stearns MBS unit, as chairman of the association's mortgage-and asset-backed securities division. Jeffrey A. Perlowitz, managing director and co-head of Salomon Smith Barney's mortgage department, has been named vice chairman of that division. The association's president and chief executive officer, Heather Ruth, will be resigning this spring and be succeeded by chief operating officer Micah S. Green.

The Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., Fort Wayne, Ind., and Fannie Mae have closed a $183 million multifamily real estate mortgage investment conduit deal. The securitization consists of three tranches and includes manufactured housing loans as well as multifamily loans.

New York-based Charter Municipal Mortgage Acceptance Co., and its subsidiaries have restructured their Private Label Tender Option Program, raising $25 million and providing up to $700,000 per year in cost savings. The TOP enables the company to raise low-cost capital using parts of its bond portfolio as collateral, and the restructuring increased the maximum that can be raised from $300 million to $500 million.

Fitch has lowered the primary and special servicer ratings of Crown and the company's master servicer rating has been withdrawn. The primary servicer rating was lowered from CPS2 to CPS3, the special servicer rating from CSS2 to CSS3, and both ratings remain on Rating Watch Negative, the rating agency announced.

Fitch has affirmed the rating of the commercial mortgage servicer ratings of Criimi Mae Services LP. The company's primary servicer rating is CPS3, its master servicer rating is CMS3, and its special servicer rating is CSS2. The company's ratings were also removed from Rating Watch Negative because the Chapter 11 reorganization plan of the servicer's parent company, Criimi Mae Inc., was confirmed Nov. 27 by a Maryland court.

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