ABS buyside veteran Dennis Kraft has resurfaced as head of consumer ABS research at Wachovia Securities, reporting to Brian Lancaster, head of structured-finance research. In his new role Kraft will cover the auto loan, credit card, home equity, student loan and commercial loan sectors. Kraft left his position as head of credit research and trading at Conning Asset Management earlier this year and is best known for his many years at Hartford Investment Management Co.

Ann Holtwick starts this week in Tom Glynn's new structured finance group at Hypo Real Estate Bank, having worked under Glynn prior to his resignation from HypoVereinsbank at the start of the year. Holtwick will focus on structured product credit analytics. Nancy Henderson and Frank Butler have also recently made the move from HVB to Hypo Real Estate. Henderson will be in charge of credit Treasury operations, while Butler is the group's senior structurer. Hypo Real Estate Bank is a Dublin-based spinoff of Hypo- Vereinsbank. Hypo Real Estate Bank has no cross-ownership with HVB.

The American Securitization Forum has released a position description for the vacant Executive Director position. Candidates should possess substantial prior professional experience in the securitization and structured finance industry, including at least seven years experience in a bank, broker-dealer, industrial or financial corporation, law firm or other organization, in all cases in a securitization-related capacity. In addition to relevant professional experience, a high energy level and strong organizational, management, and oral and written communications skills are essential.

Ken Hackel has joined RBS Greenwich Capital as managing director and co-head of fixed income strategy along with Peter McTeague, who will continue to head the Treasury research group. In his new position he is responsible for coordination of MBS, credit and asset allocation strategy, reporting to co-chief executive officers Ben Carpenter and Jay Levine. Hackel previously headed the U.S. fixed-income and mortgage research group at Merrill Lynch.

Rajiv Sobti has been hired by Vega Asset Management from BlackRock Capital Finance to run its U.S. fixed-income trading operations and run the Caspian hedge fund. Sobti, who had been with BlackRock for six years, will report to Vega chief executive officer Jon Berg.

ABS and MBS trader Yami Baker has left Massachusetts Financial Services to take a position at Fidelity Insurance. Baker had been in ABS and MBS trading and research at Mass Fi for nine years.

RBS Greenwich Capital Markets has hired MBS researcher Alec Crawford from Deutsche Bank Securities. In his new role, Crawford will focus on hybrid ARM strategy, working on the trading desk. He had worked at Deutsche Bank for three years. Prior to that he worked at Morgan Stanley for four years.

Ford Motor Co.'s European ABS vehicle Globaldrive BV 2004-E transaction will begin an early paydown, due to an increase in the annual loss ratio stemming from rising default rates. The roughly 800 million (US$955 million) series 2002-D transaction is backed by income from German auto loans, according to a report from Moody's Investors Service. The senior notes will start amortizing on the April 19 payment date. The junior notes will start to receive full principal payment after the full amortization of the senior notes.

Sallie Mae announced last week that it originated $5.8 billion in preferred-channel originations, up 19% from the $4.9 billion originated over the prior year's period. Its total loan portfolio currently tops $92 billion. "We continue to build market share in a growing student loan market," said Albert L. Lord, vice chairman and chief executive officer, Sallie Mae. "This has enabled us to further accelerate our privatization and deliver good earnings growth."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to do away with a regulation that specifies the current minimum face amount of any security issued by Ginnie Mae. The existing regulation says the face amount of any security cannot be less than $25,000. The removal will allow Ginnie to offer alternative denominations of its securities. The due date for comment on the proposal is June 14.

Huntington National Bank announced that its $868 million auto loan sale reduced its total loan growth by 12% in the first quarter, bringing the total loan growth down to 2%. As part of its strategy to reduce exposure to the auto loan market, Huntington has now sold $3 billion of auto-loan portfolios in separate transactions in four of the last quarters. We expect to continue to originate and sell auto loans to manage our auto loan exposure," said Thomas Hoaglin, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Huntington Bancshares. Residential mortgage loan growth totaled 28% and home equity loan growth totaled 22%.

Mortgage insurer MGIC Investment Corp. announced that new insurance written in the first quarter was $12.9 billion, compared to $24.1 billion in the first quarter of 2003. New insurance written for the quarter included $2.1 billion of bulk business compared with $6.7 billion in the same period last year.

Harley-Davidson announced that it recorded a $25.2 million gain from the $625 million securitization of retail motorcycle loans during the first quarter. This compares with a gain of $26.4 million on $550 million of loans securitized during the first quarter of 2003. The company also reported operating income of $50 million from its financial services unit, up $7 million (16%) compared to the year-ago quarter. The subsidiary continued to experience strong customer acceptance of its finance and insurance products.


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