Securitization veteran Ed Grant joined HSBC last week as a senior vice president in the asset-backed commercial paper group. In his new position he reports to global securitization chief Jon Bottorff. Grant had worked for ING.

ABS trader Jeff Mullins was hired by RBS Greenwich Capital to work on its trading desk, reporting to managing director Ron Weibye. His focus at RBS Greenwich will be trading subordinate home equity ABS. Mullins had worked in the Banc One Capital Markets' Chicago office.

Mark O'Keefe has been hired as a director in the Deutsche Bank Securities conduit group, reporting to managing director Adam Cohen. O'Keefe had worked for CIBC for roughly five years and is just the latest in a string of defections in the group, following CIBC's agreement with regulators to exit all aspects of the structured finance business.

Pat McCormick has jumped to bond insurer Ambac from his position at rival CIFG. McCormick, who had previously worked at American Re, had worked at CIFG since June 2003 (See ASR 6/9/03).

Cantor Fitzgerald has hired CDO trader Omar Chaudhry away from Banc of America Securities. It is unclear what Chaudhry will focus on at Cantor. He had been with Banc of America's Charlotte, N.C. office on CDO syndicate and trading, working with Rob Karr.

Diane Maurice has resigned from her position as vice president and senior analyst in the ABCP group at Moody's Investors Service. There was no immediate word as to where she will land. Maurice had worked at Moody's for five years.

Moody's Investors Service is seeking to hire up to 12 analysts for its structured finance team in New York. Prompted by growth in the mortgage market, roughly half would cover mortgage-related assets. Potential candidates should have a minimum of three years experience in the industry.

Iain Barbour, head of securitization at Commerzbank Securities, has been elected chairman of The European Securitization Forum. Holger Beyer of Euro Capital Structures, meanwhile, will be vice-chairman. Peter Hansen also joins the organization as managing director, where he will work with Executive Director Scott Rankin. Hansen is responsible for staffing several committees.

CenterPoint Energy filed with the Texas Public Utilities Commission last week to recoup up to $7.43 billion in unforeseen stranded power plant costs, the cost of environmental controls and certain other transition costs via the true-up mechanism in the Texas Electric Choice Law, allowing it to securitize future consumer payments. CenterPoint estimated its true-up balance was $3.8 billion, with an additional $631 million in interest that is pending court approval. A term securitization to recoup the stranded costs is tentatively scheduled for the fourth quarter of the year, sources said.

Countrywide Financial Corp. announced it hired 11 commercial real estate professionals from Coastal Capital Partners, LLC, and was entering the commercial real estate lending arena. Effective April 1, Stewart Ward, Boyd Fellows, Chris Tokarski and Warren de Haan joined Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance as executive vice presidents. Charles Neirick, Cary Carpenter, Marlyn Marincas, Kyle Jeffers, Sepp Dobler, Walter Plyler and Rachael Morgan also join Countrywide in various capacities.

Student Loan Xpress grew 134% between DOE fiscal year 2002 and 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Education. This places it third in growth statistics among student loan lenders nationally. The San Diego-based company originated $318 million in federal Stafford and Plus student loan volume in 2003, compared with $136 million in 2002.

The American Securitization Forum is seeking members to join a task force with the goal of setting servicing standards. At the very least, the ASF project would cover credit card and auto loan transactions, and perhaps student loans and equipment leases for non-mortgage assets. Interested members should contact Laura Strothmann, associate director of the ASF.

The Bond Market Association issued a white paper last week examining state and local legislation regarding predatory lending, making a case for federal legislation. This, it says, would clarify conflicting state or local anti-predatory lending laws that have created uncertainty in the subprime mortgage lending market, potentially undermining many secondary market benefits for homebuyers.

Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) closed a US$300 million revolving loan facility via a 10-bank syndicate. The term of the loan is seven years, with an average life of 4.25 years. CVRD agreed to pay 70 basis points over six-month Libor. Banks involved in the facility are Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Credit Lyonnais, ING, Mizuho Bank, SG Cowan, Sumitomo Mitsui and UFJ Bank.

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