Before 2001 came to an end, Banco Santander was able to close a muti-functional hybrid asset-backed commercial paper conduit in the U.S., marking its second conduit, but its first hybrid and the first in the U.S.

Altamira Funding (see ASR 7/02/01) is authorized to issue $2 billion and was able to begin issuing commercial paper before 2002 even begun. Jim McDonald left his position as an ABCP analyst after four years at Moody's Investors Service to arrange this vehicle. It is a typical multi-seller program that can do securities arbitrage, match funded loans and purchase receivables.

"It gave us flexibility in different types of transactions and it was more efficient than setting up three separate types of conduits to perform three different types of activities," said McDonald.

Altamira will primarily be scoping out banks in the U.S. as sellers, however it will also be looking overseas, particularly in Europe and South America. Prior to this conduit, Santander set up an ABCP conduit in Spain, Cantabric Financing Plc, in 1998.

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