Fitch Ratings named Gloria Aviotti as the new head of the U.S. structured finance group in New York, assuming management responsibilities for all U.S.-based structured finance rating groups. Aviotti takes over the duties of Douglas Murray, who moved over to head Fitch's structured finance business development group earlier this year.'' Aviotti reports to Fitch President and CEO Stephan Joynt.

Lynne Gochanour has joined law firm Chapman and Cutler, as a partner in the lease finance group. Gochanour joins from Vedder Price, where she worked on aviation finance transactions. In addition to her aircraft finance expertise, Gochanour also has experience in large equipment financings, including sea vessels, rolling stock freight cars, containers and manufacturing facilities.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced that it agreed to purchase student lender and serviced Collegiate Funding Services for approximately $663 million. Chase will pay roughly $20 per share in an all-cash transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2006. After the acquisition is completed, Collegiate Funding President and CEO J. Barry Morrow will become president of the Chase Education Finance business=, reporting to Brad Conner, executive vice president of Chase.

Sole lead Hypovereinsbank last week closed a 126.5 million ($163.3 million) securitization of ruble-denominated consumer loans for Russia's Home Credit & Finance Bank, the second existing asset deal out of the country. Rated Baa2' by Moody's Investors Service, the 100 million A1 tranche priced at 250 basis points over one-month Euribor, with a final legal maturity of 4.5 years. HVB also provided a currency hedge for the transaction, which is backed by revolving collateral, with tenors of between 10 to 11 months at the deal's launch.

Altria Corp.'s Phillip Morris unit was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Illinois Supreme Court last week when a $10.1 billion trial court judgement was thrown out. As a result of the dismissal, municipally issued securitizations of fees to be paid by the tobacco companies come into question. No rating agencies had announced any rating actions as of press time, following last Thursday's state supreme-court decision.

Fannie Mae announced that effective Jan. 1, it will reduce the standard minimum servicing fees for most single-family, first-lien conventional ARMs to 25 basis points. Fannie Mae said that the new minimum fee, which matches the standard minimum servicing fee for fixed-rate mortgages delivered to Fannie Mae, is aimed at providing lenders with greater execution flexibility. The GSE might also approve qualified lenders to deliver ARM loans with minimum servicing fees as low as 0.125%. New MBS pools that have ARMs delivered with negotiated minimum servicing fees below 0.25% will be identified by new pool prefixes - S1 for 30-year loans and S2 for 40-year loans, according to Fannie Mae.

Anthracite Capital announced the resignation of board member Clay Lebhar. Lebhar, who has served on the firm's board of directors since May 2004, was part of the nominating and governance committee. The resignation brought down the total number of directors to eight, five of whom are not part of Anthracite. Lebhar is expected to join the boards of directors of two private REITs managed by BlackRock Realty Advisors, affiliate of BlackRock Financial Management and Anthracite's manager.

Following the completion of its acquisition by HSBC Holdings, The Metris Companies saw $1.67 billion of its outstanding subordinated ABS upgraded by Fitch Ratings. As part of the move, the M, B, C and D classes of the 2004-2 and 2005-1 transactions were upgraded, as were the A, B and C class notes from the series 2001-2 offering.

Barclays Capital published the results of its first European ABS annual survey last week. According to Barclays, European ABS is in store for another record year in 2006. Of the 50 investors participating in the survey, 39 said the average growth expectation over the next 12 months is 40%. Primarily smaller investors, rather than the larger players who already have significant exposure to European ABS, will boost the growth rate, Barclays said. CMBS and RMBS were the preferred sectors among the respondents and are expected to have above average growth relative to other ABS sectors next year.

European credit card issuers such as Egg Bank, Barclays plc and Abbey National have agreed to share more detailed borrower information. At the moment they only disclose cardholders' outstanding balances and borrower limits. Data shared among these lenders could include monthly spending, monthly repayment amounts, changes to borrower limits and bounced repayment checks, according to Morgan Stanley. The system is scheduled to start in early 2006.

Braskem announced the completion of a R$400 million FIDC last week. The transaction, with 36-month maturity, begins amortizing after 31 months. The transaction pays 103.75% of the Interbank Deposit Certificate rate.

(c) 2005 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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