MBS analyst Michael Youngblood has jumped to Friedman Billings Ramsey from GMAC-RFC, where he had worked since January 2003. In his new position, Youngblood will work out of the Arlington, Va., FBR office. Prior to GMAC-RFC, Youngblood had worked at Banc of America Securities.

Gulden Kazandag has left her position as director of global credit derivatives at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. It was unclear as of press time what her next position would be. Kazandag was understood to have participated in a mandate that Dresdner clinched from Mexican housing finance company Metrofinanciera for what could be the first cross-border real estate receivable deal from that country.

HBOs Treasury Services has brought on Jason Walker as a senior investment manager on the Structured Investments Portfolio desk. Previously, Walker was at Toronto Dominion Bank, where he ran an ABS portfolio. He joins Tony Clark, Milan Patel and Wouter Van Assche in managing the existing ABS portfolio, which has surpassed the $40 billion mark. In his new role, Walker reports to Richard Paddle, head of the Structured Investments Portfolio. Meanwhile, Richard Seaborn has moved over to manage the Credit Liquidity Portfolio and continues reporting to Paddle.

Eleven securitizations were downgraded by Standard & Poor's last week, following the long-term sovereign rating downgrade of the Republic of Italy to AA-' from AA'. Negatively impacted by Italy's downgrade were seven repackaged credit-linked notes and eight tranches from four separate fixed- and floating-rate transactions. Impacted transactions are denominated in euros, sterling and yen.

GE Commercial Finance's restructuring group named Penny G. Friedman to lead its origination efforts for the Central Region. Friedman, a senior vice president based in Chicago, will report to managing director Stuart Armstrong. Friedman joined GE Commercial in 1994 and will lead a team that includes senior vice presidents Elias Makris and Howard Steinberg and vice presidents Mac Fowle and Angela Harmon as well as sales associate Katie Phelps.

Ford Motor Credit recently sold more than $3.9 billion of auto loans into its FCAR conduit, the company announced last week. The bulk of the purchase, $3.92 billion, was in the form of triple-A rated A class paper, with $62 million in the form of double-A rated B class subordinate notes. This represents the third time Ford has sold double-B rated paper into FCAR.

A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday for the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) and the Federal Housing Finance Board to assess their effectiveness in supervising the government-sponsored enterprises. OFHEO Director Armando Falcon and Finance Board Chairman Alicia Castaneda are both slated to testify. The House Financial Services subcommittee on capital markets and GSEs and the subcommittee on oversight and investigations will conduct the hearing, with Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., chairing the GSE subcommittee and Rep. Sue Kelly, R-N.Y., chairing the investigations subcommittee.

The Murrayhill Company announced it entered into a $41.7 million recapitalization agreement with private equity firm TA Associates. Murrayhill said the agreement will expand its credit risk management offerings, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of MBS, ABS and CDO transactions, as well as allowing it to offer more services and analytics aimed at reducing loss, improving servicing and increasing client yields, the company said.

Standard & Poor's announced last week that it dropped its covered loan policy for New Jersey-originated loans, following the state's amendment to its law governing loans originated after Nov. 27, 2003. Since the amended policy is not retroactive, loans originated between Nov. 27, 2003 and July 6, 2004 still apply to S&P's previously defined standards for increased credit enhancement.

Student lender Nelnet was included in the Russell 2000 Index, a small-cap equity index consisting of a subset of the 2,000 smallest stocks by total market capitalization, Russell Investment Corp. announced last week. "Nelnet is pleased to be a member of the Russell 2000 Index," said Stephen Butterfield, Nelnet co-chief executive officer. "This is an important milestone for our company as well as for our shareholders. It provides increased recognition for Nelnet and our stock within the investment community."

GE Consumer Finance, which issued its first-ever credit card ABS last month (See ASR 5/31/04), has entered an agreement to originate and service retail private label credit cards for the Canadian locations of Linens n Things Inc. GE Consumer Finance already issues the credit cards for Linen n Things' 461 U.S. locations.

The Metris Companies saw two classes of its Metris Master Trust upgraded by Moody's Investors Service last week, upon the completion of its previously announced defeasement of its series 2004-1 transaction. As of June 28, Moody's reports, $372.9 million of 2004-1 class A notes, as well as $66.29 million of 2004-1 Class B notes, have had cash equaling 101% of par value set aside in a segregated trust account and were subsequently upgraded to Aaa'.

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