Amitabh Arora has been rehired by Lehman Brothers as a senior vice president and head of interest rate strategy. Arora, who had left Lehman Brothers last summer to head the mortgage research group at Morgan Stanley, will now report to Managing Director and head of liquid markets strategy Jeff Biby. In the first stint at Lehman Brothers, Arora headed the MBS modeling group.

Banco Santander in Brazil has hired Antonio Oliveira as an associate in its capital markets group. In his new role, Antonio will join vice president Ricardo Leoni in building structured transactions, primarily real estate receivable deals (CRIs) and credit receivable investment funds (FIDCs). Oliveira was formerly at ABN AMRO, where he worked for one year as an associate on the debt capital markets team. Prior to that, he spent five years in the Latin American debt capital markets and credit groups at JPMorgan Chase.

With its shareholder-approved merger with JPMorgan Chase just weeks away from closing, Bank One Corp. closed its own acquisition of the credit card operations of Circuit City Stores. The deal, which included both its private label and its co-branded Visa credit card accounts, was completed last Monday and will total approximately $400 million. Under terms of the agreement, Bank One purchased the portfolio. It will offer new private label and co-branded credit cards, and will provide credit card services to existing cardholders. Bank One will compensate Circuit City for each new account opened and provide special financing terms to Circuit City customers.

The servicing unit of commercial lender CapitalSource Inc. has been selected as special servicer for 55 loans originated by bankrupt medical equipment lender DVI Inc. CapitalSource Servicing LLC will oversee workout and restructuring efforts for 55 loans within the DVI Receivables III trust, totaling roughly $188 million in par value.

Mortgage insurer MGIC announced The Mortgage Payment Protection Plan, last week, designed to protect borrowers from home foreclosure in the event of involuntary unemployment or disability. Described as a first of its kind in the private mortgage insurance industry, the MPP Plan is offered at no cost to lenders or consumers and enables MGIC to reduce losses and to pass on that benefit to help protected borrowers.

The Mortgage Bankers Association last week released its quarterly commercial and multifamily mortgage loan origination survey for the first quarter of 2004, showing continued growth in commercial and multifamily mortgage originations in 2004. Commercial mortgage bankers originated $20.9 billion in the first quarter, up by 2.8 percent ($562 million) when compared with originations during the same quarter in 2003.

April new home sales more than reversed March's 10% jump, dropping roughly 12% to 1.093 million units at an annualized pace, which is the lowest reading since last November. RBS Greenwich Capital, leaning toward a benign view, said that March's level was unsustainably strong and April represents a pullback. Moreover, purchase mortgage applications have held at extraordinarily high levels through May 21. There is little corroborating evidence that housing demand is rolling over. Analysts are looking for a rebound in May new home sales, adding that if April's reading falls further, there might be a possibility for deterioration in the housing outlook. But for now, home sales should hold up for the near term. Meanwhile, existing home sales were supposed to fall in April after surging by nearly 6% in March. Instead, they continued to advance, moving close to the all-time high of 6.68 million units registered last September.

A structure developed by ABN AMRO, allowing European financial institutions to sell assets into domestic special purpose vehicles funded through ABS, was recognized by German regulator BaFin as not subject to licensing. BaFin last week said that ABN's concept does not require a banking license under German banking law. This enables domestic true sale' transactions by financial institutions. The SPV structure is flexible with respect to the purchasing of various asset classes, including corporate, mortgage and consumer loans. It takes advantage of recent tax changes in Germany, providing trade tax exemption for securitized bank assets.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, the investment banking arm of Dresdner Bank AG, has established a U.S. private placement team based in New York, headed by director Surat Maheshwari. In his role, Maheshwari will report locally to Bryan Seyfried, head of credit, North America, and globally to Neal Neilinger, global head of corporate debt syndicate and Henry Nevstad, global head of medium-term notes. Maheshwari had previously served as a principal finance officer at the International Finance Corp. in Washington D.C.


In last week's ASR, Booz Allen Hamilton was incorrectly identified as an advertising agency. It is, in fact, a management consulting firm.


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