To expand its ABS syndicate, Banc One Capital Markets would like to hire another seasoned professional to work on its Chicago-based trading desk. The desired candidate, who would report to managing director Andy Cherna, should have experience home-equity ABS.

UBS Warburg is targeting early in the second quarter to bring a pair of first-time mandates for the underwriting team. After being put on the back burner when investor sentiment soured late last year for off-the-run sectors and issuers, the aircraft-engine lease ABS planned by Willis Lease Finance as well as a timeshare receivables transaction from an undisclosed issuer are now expected to hit sometime in April.

Neal Shah has joined Moody's Investors Service as an associate analyst in the RMBS group. Prior to joining Moody's, Shah worked for roughly a year and a half as an investment management pro at Goldman Sachs, and has also worked at consulting firm Accenture. Primarily involved in the rating of Jumbo, Alt-A and subprime mortgages. Shah will jointly report to managing directors Pramila Gupta and Jay Siegel.

Continuing to ramp up its structured finance unit, monoline surety CIFG has hired Charles Gundy to head its European structured finance group. Prior to joining CIFG, Gundy had worked in the London offices of FSA, Sanwa Bank and Rabobank.

Following the addition of five new hires, Miami-based law firm Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson is making a push into securitization markets. Led by Milton Vescovacci, who formerly worked in the Chase Securities ABS origination group, the group aims to hire lawyers with experience as Wall Street bankers.

Steve Odesser has left his post as associate director in the conduit origination group at Hypo-Vereinsbank AG, which he had held for approximately one year. There is no word on where Odesser would land. Prior to his position at Hypo, he had been a director in the conduit origination group at CIBC, where he worked for five years.

Sallie Mae recently announced the promotions of Guido van der Ven and Charles Colligan to the positions of vice president, corporate finance. Well known in student loan ABS circles, van der Ven serves as part of the finance securitization structuring team and is also responsible for all debt investor relations, regulatory relations for capital markets and manages Sallie Mae's pension- and benefit-related investment portfolios. Colligan is responsible for on-balance-sheet financing, interest rate swap and option execution, and interest rate and basis risk management.

Moody's Investors Service recently appointed Reynold Leegerstee as vice president - senior credit officer. Leegerstee will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa and will be in charge of the expansion of Moody's client relationships in all other areas of the South African debt markets. He re-joins Moody's from ABN AMRO Bank where he was director of asset securitization based in London. Before this, he was a vice president in Moody's structured finance team in Paris. Last December, Moody's announced that it would shortly establish an office in Johannesburg.

Fitch Ratings released last week its CMBS Loan Delinquency Index. Fitch said that though CMBS loan delinquencies remain at remarkably low levels, investors should expect the number of delinquent loans to rise over the next year. For 4Q of 2002, delinquency rates in the 357 Fitch-rated transactions increased four basis points above the third quarter rate, going from 1.27% to 1.31%. The delinquency average for Fitch-rated transactions is slightly below the industry average of 1.41%.

Countrywide Home Loans has announced that, along with sister company Full Spectrum Lending, it will no longer accept subprime loan applications in Georgia for amounts under $322,700. The company had not been making what are defined as high-cost loans under the Georgia Fair Lending Act, but the latest move means it has exited completely out of the state's subprime market.

Freddie Mac announced last week details and formats for the six new disclosure items for its Mortgage Participation Certificates (PCs). Originally announced on Feb. 3 as part of an ongoing review of MBS disclosure policies, the six new data elements are: original loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, loan purpose, current mortgage servicer identity, borrower credit scores, property type and occupancy status.

The National Association of Realtors total existing home sales increased in 45 states and in the District of Columbia during the 4Q of 2002. NAR's latest report stated that nationwide, the seasonally adjusted annual rate was 6.55 million units in the fourth quarter, which is up by 8.6 % from the 6.03 million-unit level in the fourth quarter of 2001. Additionally, fourth-quarter sales were up 5.8 % from a pace of 6.19 million units recorded in the third quarter of 2002 and were the second-highest level on record.

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