ABS salesman Mark Opila has jumped to Barclays Capital from DresdneKleinwortWasserstein, where he had worked since March 2001. Opila will report to Andrew Rankowitz, Director - Head of U.S. Credit Sales. Prior to his stint at Dresdner, he had worked at pre-merger Chase Securities but left in early 2001, after the merger with JPMorgan closed.

Nixon Peabody has hired Marc J. Veilleux as a partner and group head in its New York-based structured finance practice. In an announcement last week, the firm said it is expanding its securitization and structured finance practice. Veilleux moved over Shearman & Sterling.

Portfolio Financial Servicing Co. announced last week that it had won the servicing contract for the lease portfolio of Lease Assurance Corp. PFSC, based in Portland, Ore., is the largest commercial equipment lease and loan servicing company in the U.S. LAC leases 18-wheel tractor trailers.

Capital One Financial announced that it intends to close its offices in Fredricksburg, Va. on Dec. 1, 2003, reported the American Banker. The 650 Cap One employees based in Fredricksburg will be offered positions at other offices located in Virginia, primarily in Henrico and Chesterfield Counties. In total, Cap One has 30 offices in the state, including its headquarters, located in McLean.

Standard & Poor's Corp. cut the ratings on 14 classes of auto loan ABS issued by Mitsubishi Motor Credit of America and affirmed six classes at their previous ratings. The largest downgrades occurred in some senior classes, which were cut to A+' from AAA. The tranches had been placed on CreditWatch Negative Feb. 13. "The majority of the losses experienced by these pools (series 2001-3 and 2002-2) have been the result of defaults by obligors with balloon contracts. These loans have been extended to obligors with lower credit quality than MMCA's traditional level-

pay obligors.

JPMorgan unveiled last week its new Web-based structured finance data-reporting site, the company announced. Named Structured Finance Reporting, the Web site offers automatic notification of when reports are available, detailed deal summary screens, on-demand factor reporting and improved search capabilities to request access to private CDO transactions. The new site can be found at: www.jpmorgan.com/sfr.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded three classes of notes issued by Valeo Investment Grade CDO II Ltd. last week. The tranches included are: the $18.5 million class A-2 floating rate senior subordinated notes due June 1, 2013 downgraded to Ba3 from Baa3; the $13.75 million class B-1 floating rate senior subordinated notes due June 1, 2013 downgraded to Caa3 from B3; the $9.0 million Class B-2 8.697% fixed-rate senior subordinated notes due June 1, 2013 downgraded to Caa3 from B3. According to Moody's, the downgrades are due to significant deterioration in the credit quality of the collateral pool.

Fannie Mae said last Thursday that its duration gap widened to an average of negative five months in May from negative two months in April. The May duration reading, which is the widest since February, is within Fannie's target range of plus to minus six months. Total business volume for the month of May was $129 billion, dipping from a record $139 billion in April. Retained commitments jumped to a record $73.8 billion from $41.4 billion in April, which is an increase of 78%. Outstanding portfolio commitments rose to $103.8 billion from $72 billion in April.

Bank of Japan (BoJ) attempted to re-inflate the country's economy by pumping money into the banking sector. BoJ is willing to buy ABS backed by the loan assets of Japanese banks, up to a total of Yen 1 trillion ($8.49 billion). These securities could get a rating of up to double-B. Reports said that bank lending in Japan has been dipping for 65 consecutive months now.

New CMO volume dipped to its lowest level since September in May, said Bear Stearns. CMO production as a percent of new agency pools also dipped to its lowest level in almost 18 months May's production was in at $52 billion, which dipped from $70 billion the month prior. New CMOs, as a percent of new pools issued, comprised 27%, down from 37% the month before.

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