Setting a new standard for the industry, MBNA America Bank received a servicer rating of "strong" last week by Standard & Poor's with a "stable" outlook - the first servicer rating assigned to a non-real estate consumer asset class. The move, prompted by investor inquiries, offers investors an independent view of servicing operations for a sector that, over the past two years, has shown the importance of maintaining a high quality of servicing.

"The ranking is based on MBNA's highly experienced management team, solid internal controls and risk management environment, superior level of automation, thorough policies and procedures, excellent training regiment, demonstrated default management expertise, and successful execution of strategic business initiatives," S&P said in its analysis.

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