Specialty auto finance company Santander Consumer USA's buyout by Banco Santander Centro Hispano last December complemented its ongoing efforts to expand product offerings to dealers and compete more effectively with other lenders. The latter takes a lot of money.

Santander Consumer, therefore, raised $1.2 billion in securities backed by subprime retail auto loans through the Santander Drive Auto Receivables Trust, 2007-1. It is the company's largest ABS transaction to date, and its first public deal. Previous transactions were structured under 144A rules, but in order for the company to raise that amount of capital, it decided to do all of its future transactions as public deals, starting with the 2007-1 deal. That transaction was completed in early April.

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