Investment bank Friedman Billings Ramsey says it will exit the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) underwriting business, after years as an also-ran for home equity loan securitization deals. "We are exiting the mortgage ABS underwriting business," said company spokeswoman Lauren Burk. "Mortgage trading had been a non-material, non-core part of our business." Some employees in FBR's mortgage ABS business will be reassigned to other areas of the bank, said Burk, but she did not specify exactly how many professionals would be impacted by the reorganization. The unit will close by the end of October, said sources familiar with the situation. FBR has acted as lead manager on at least 20 deals amounting to at least $13 billion in real estate ABS mandates, according to Asset Securitization Report's database. The Poplar ABS Mortgage

Pass-Through transaction, which priced in March, was one of its more recent transactions.

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