The entire staff of ASR would like to wish Editor Michael Gregory a fond farewell in his future endeavors at United Capital Markets, where he begins Monday. Gregory joined Asset Sales Report as associate editor in 1999 and was promoted to editor in 2002. The editorial staff owes a debt of gratitude to Gregory, who is the person most responsible for the direction and content of ASR since its relaunch in 2000 as Asset Securitization Report.

Terry McCarthy has been hired by Citigroup Global Markets away from Standard & Poor's, as a director in the credit derivatives group. During his five years at S&P, McCarthy focused on cashflow and synthetic CDOs. In his new position at Citigroup, he will focus on marketing, structuring, pricing and closing credit derivative repack trades, including single-name credit-linked notes and first to default basket notes. He will be the administrator of Citigroup's SPVs used for U.S. repacking trades, including TIERS and SIC.

Wachovia Securities' CDO research group continues its expansion effort, adding Natasha Chen, who was just hired as a vice president. In her new role, she will report to Managing Director Arturo Cifuentes. Chen had been a vice president in the CDO group at Moody's Investors Service.

Markus Niemeier has taken a position at Credit Suisse First Boston, jumping from his position at Barclays Capital. Niemeier, a whole business specialist, will now approach the European whole business sector from a trader's point of view. In comments about the move, he said that he would be concentrating on the same aspects of the market as he did at Barclays and would be providing his own research in his new trading position at CSFB.

Jeffery A. Gimby and John K. Kuhn joined GE Commercial Finance as senior vice presidents to its capital markets/syndications team. Both report to Mary Beth Burnett, managing director, GE Commercial Finance capital markets/syndications. Gimby is a former vice president at Loan Pricing Corporation. Before that, he was a vice president, leveraged finance at JPMorgan Securities, where he structured and executed syndicated loans. Kuhn was formerly director, leveraged finance for ABN AMRO, where he conducted due diligence and credit analysis for prospective syndicated loan and

high yield transactions. Prior to that, Kuhn worked as vice president,

global syndicated finance for JPMorgan Securities.

Though affordability remains at a historically high level, the average American family's ability to buy a median-priced home dropped in 2Q04 due to rising interest rates and higher home prices, according to the National Association of Realtors. The NAR's composite Housing Affordability Index was at 133.6, decreasing from 144.1 in 1Q04 and from 143.8 the same time last year. The NAR noted that the first-quarter number was the second-highest index reading since 1973.

The Bond Market Association announced last week that it would make its dealer survey of mortgage prepayment forecasts more easily available. The BMA is posting the report on the business days closest to the first and 15th of the month. The survey offers dealers' consensus expectations for the prepays on various types of generic mortgages under different interest rate scenarios. It provides data from dealers, such as Citigroup Group Global Markets, Credit Suisse First Boston, Countrywide Securities, Deutsche Bank, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Lehman Brothers, RBS Greenwich Capital and UBS.

The Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA) last week announced the appointment of Carol Wilkie as executive manager of the association's European chapter. In her new position, Wilkie will manage the overall direction and activities of CMSA's European chapter as well as work closely with the European Board of Governors. She will coordinate all conferences, seminars and meetings of CMSA's European Committees and the European Board of Governor, and develop alliances with the other European trade organizations. Before joining CMSA, Wilkie had an over five-year stint at Fitch Ratings in the rating agency's European structured finance division.

Prudential Plc, announced last week that it would keep its 79% stake in Internet bank Egg Plc. Since January, Prudential had been looking to sell the Internet bank and credit card issuer, and analysts were anticipating a deal that would infuse Prudential with capital and Egg with fresh resources, ASR sister publication American Banker reported. Both MBNA Corp., and Capital One Financial had been talked as potential suitors.

Reports surfaced that even as the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC reaffirmed its intention to hold off on doing bank acquisitions in the U.S., it was announcing two non-bank deals enhancing its overseas franchise. The company made public its plans to buy Lync Systems Inc. of Atlanta, as well as its plan to issue credit cards to customers of Cincinnati, Ohio-based supermarket chain Kroger Co.

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