Standard & Poor's announced the appointment of Susan Barnes as Practice Leader and head of the Standard & Poor's residential mortgage structured finance group in North America, with responsibility for managing all of S&P's U.S. RMBS activities. Barnes succeeds Frank Raiter, who recently retired from S&P after 10 years in the RMBS group. Barnes, a managing director, previously served as analytical manager of the RMBS group. Prior to joining Standard & Poor's in 1993, Susan worked at Citicorp Securities Markets, Inc. Her background includes tenures with primary mortgage companies as well as secondary market participants. Barnes reports directly to Rosario Buendia, Global Practice Leader for ABS and RMBS ratings at S&P.

CDO researcher Arturo Cifuentes is no longer heading the CDO research strategy group at Wachovia Securities, sources confirmed. Reached at his home, Cifuentes had no comment about his status. A Wachovia spokesman confirmed that Cifuentes was no longer with the firm, and added that a replacement has not yet been named. Under Cifuentes, the CDO research group gained industry accolades for its reports, which sometimes proved controversial.

Maria Fregosi was named to the ABN AMRO mortgage group executive committee, where she will assumes responsibility for ABN AMRO's pricing strategies and secondary marketing activities. Additionally, Fregosi will continue to oversee the firm's capital markets division. Previously she served as group senior vice president for ABN AMRO, responsible for the development of its mortgage conduit program, master servicing group and commercial mortgage securitization program. "The integration of capital markets, secondary markets and pricing strategies enables AAMG to tightly link its front-end pricing with its investor activities," said ABN AMRO Chairman and CEO Thomas Goldstein.

Bravo Credit Corp., a unit of mortgage lender ECC Capital Corp., announced that it has agreed to acquire certain assets of Saxon Capital unit America's MoneyLine. The assets in the transaction include branches located in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Texas, allowing Bravo to accelerate its geographic expansion while "minimizing costs and the usual ramp-up required to open new retail branches," the company said in a release. A purchase price was not disclosed.

Bay View Capital Corp. saw its total assets increase to $502.9 million in 1Q05, from $423.3 million at Dec. 31, 2004, on $75.2 million growth in its auto receivables portfolio. Throughout the quarter, Bay View purchased $115.5 million of auto contracts, a 43% increase compared to 4Q04 a 67% increase from the year-ago period. The company also reported a 1Q05 net loss of $334,000.

CenterPoint Energy announced that, due to the appeals filed, it has been unable to complete the stranded cost securitization it had planned for the first half of 2005, according to the company's 1Q05 earnings announcement. It did add, however, that an order is expected from the Public Utility Commission of Texas in late May.

New Century Financial originated $10.3 billion of mortgage loans in 1Q05, a 22% increase from the $8.4 billion originated throughout 1Q04, the company announced in its quarterly earnings report. New Century also added $3.8 billion to its REIT mortgage loan portfolio in 1Q05, bringing the balance of that portfolio to approximately $12.3 billion, including $1.6 billion in loans held for investment that it has yet to securitize.

FGIC reported that its net premiums written for 1Q05 totaled $82.6 million on gross premiums totaling $84.4 million, representing 54% and 50% increases from the year-ago period, respectively. As of March 31, 2005, FGIC had $243 billion in insured net par outstanding. Public finance transactions represented approximately 85% of the total portfolio while structured finance obligations accounted for the remaining 15%. Net investment income totaled $27.9 million. The 1Q05 quarter included FGIC's first new issue international transaction since reopening the U.K. office in 2004.

Nelnet Inc. announced that its net student loan portfolio totaled $14.5 billion, up approximately 30%, in 1Q05 versus the year-ago period and up 8%, $13.5 billion as of at Dec. 31, 2004.

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