BOCA RATON, FLA. - As more and more citizens - and non-citizens for that matter - have achieved the American dream of homeownership, the subprime lenders have been played like a fiddle, according to some panelists at Information Management Network's ABS East Conference last week.

"There is a strong possibility that this sector has been gamed by the masses," said Sean Kirk, vice president and trader at United Capital Markets. The strong public push toward credit awareness, Kirk added, has led to what may be inflated credit scores. Offering up an example, he said he was able to raise his own FICO score some 100 points in a matter of two months after discovering a past-due medical bill on his credit report. And as an increasing number of consumers access their credit reports, they too may be propping up their scores, making the average 620 FICO score in most subprime mortgage pools perhaps what years ago would have been a 590. "People know what their credit scores are, they know how to improve it - they know how to game the system," he said.

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