Bob D'Loren, CEO of boutique ABS underwriter UCC Capital, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of clothing manufacturer Candie's Inc. In August 2002, UCC led Candie's license agreement whole business securitization for Candie's. D'Loren has served as a director or board advisor to Business Loan Express, Bike Athletic Co. and Bill Blass.

Charles Nottebohm recently left his position as vice president at Dexia Credit in New York to join financial consultancy Protego Asesores in Mexico City as deputy head of public finance. Starting Dec. 1, Nottebohm will report to managing director Luis Videgaray. "Charles will greatly strengthen our capacity in structuring [sub-sovereign] transactions," Videgaray said. In his new role, Nottebohm will leverage the experience he crafted during a five-year tenure at Dexia, where he oversaw the European guarantor's first partial surety in the Mexican municipal market in June. With this addition, Protego's sub-sovereign team is eleven strong. Prior to Dexia, Nottebohm worked as a consultant. He is a graduate of the law program of the London School of Economics and the School of International & Public Affairs at Columbia University.

The American Securitization Forum has announced the agenda for its upcoming winter conference to be held in Scottsdale Ariz. Jan. 25-28. The full agenda, including panel discussion participants, is currently available on the trade group's Web site, www.americansecuritization.com

Freddie Mac was scheduled to announce that it would divulge the specific amount of restated earnings last Friday, coming after ASR's Thursday print deadline. Published reports pegged the revision as being upwards of $1 billion, for the periods dating back to the years 2000 and 2001 and the first three quarters of 2002, along with the revision of fourth quarter and full-year consolidated financial statements for 2002.

Moody's Investors Service opened the doors to its new Johannesburg, South Africa office last week. The agency said in a press release that the new office will enable them to better service the growing local demand for in-depth and high-quality credit analysis and ratings, especially in the asset securitization market. Reynold Leegerstee, who was appointed earlier this year, will act as vice president and senior credit officer of the Johannesburg location.

Last week, Fitch Ratings upgraded all three classes of Metris Master Trust series 2001-1, to triple-A, impacting a total of $610 million of ABS. The senior A class had been rated A-'; the B class BB+' and the C class B'. The floating-rate transaction, priced in February 2001 via JPMorgan Securities, has experienced a cash defeasance equal to 102% of the aggregate outstanding invested amount, eliminating any servicing and receivables performance risks, noted Fitch. The bonds are now on track to fully pay down in January and February 2004, noted Fitch.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded seven classes of Falcon Financial LLC's series 2003-1 auto dealership franchise loan ABS last week, due primarily to the deterioration of a single loan in the pool. The downgrades were triggered when the pending sale of the dealership fell through (see related story, p. 10). The transaction priced in January 2003 via Goldman Sachs.

Home-equity lender Saxon Capital announced that it has signed an agreement with credit risk manager Onyx Software Corp. Saxon will begin using Onyx within its Americas Moneyline retail unit, which originates non-conforming mortgages directly to consumers. Saxon employees will begin using Onyx software with the goal of improving the conversion ratio of leads to funded dollars. Onyx will enable Saxon to automatically distribute leads to the appropriate region, branch or loan officer, and then track all customer interactions through closure.

Fitch Ratings expects ratings volatility and negative ratings actions stabilizing in the near term, the debt tracker reported in its Third Quarter 2003 Recap and Outlook. Fitch believes, however, that above-average volatility will persist in the aircraft, franchise-loan and small-business sectors. The complete report is available on the Fitch Web site.

Providian Financial has signed an agreement to offer a co-branded visa card to customers of the Home Shopping Network. The new credit cards will be issued by Providian National Bank and will feature competitive rebate and rewards programs. Launch of the new credit card is scheduled for January 2004.

ABS rock group ZZ Top was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last Thursday, according to Suzan Evans, executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. ZZ Top becomes the first act to have performed at an ABS gathering to achieve the distinction. The induction ceremony is scheduled for March 2004 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Joining the Texas rockers as hall inductees next year will be Jackson Browne, The Dells, George Harrison, Prince, Bob Seger and Traffic.

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