Spurred by persistently low short-term interest rates, as well as greater-than-expected prepayment fee collections, net-interest margin securitizations totaled $1.26 billion, the second-highest total to date, according to a new report issued by Standard & Poor's. While total volume was down from 4Q02's record of more than $1.4 billion, deal size is growing, averaging $70 million per transaction, last quarter, up 55% from an average of $45 billion in 4Q02.

The report, titled "NIMS Quarterly Highlights," addresses issuance volume and performance of deals throughout the first quarter, as well as the low rates that have stimulated mortgage lending, and, in turn, NIM issuance. Additionally, S&P has scheduled a conference call to discuss its findings for Tuesday, May 20.

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