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Bank of portugal wants banks to securitise property loans

LISBON Oct 23 The Bank of Portugal wants the country's banks to set up a fund where their shaky real estate loans would be securitised and sold in order to provide more financing to the recession-hit economy, the financial authority said on Tuesday. It said it had met representatives of the Portuguese Banking Association to present its initiative which had already been coordinated with the country's European and IMF lenders. Such a fund would increase the banking sector's "capacity to finance the economy, boost the prospects of longer-term profitability in the sector and reduce the levels of borrowing by the banking sector with the European Central Bank".

Portuguese banks have long been frozen out of the interbank funding market due to the country's debt crisis and relied heavily on ECB liquidity. Overall lending to the economy shrank by nearly 7 percent in August from a year earlier, to 311.3 billion euros, according to Bank of Portugal data.

The property market in Portugal has not been as hard-hit by the crisis as in Spain or Ireland, but the volume of overdue loans held by Portuguese firms has been rising, hitting record highs in June, as credit conditions tightened.

Bank of Portugal data show construction and real estate companies accounting for nearly 17 percent of all non-performing loans to businesses in the first half of the year. The share of bad loans to businesses in general increased to 8.8 percent of all loans in June from 5.6 percent a year ago. Housing loans to private individuals still have a fairly modest 2.2 percent share of overdue loans.

Big money crops up in small elections in the united states

Political groups that took advantage of loosened campaign-finance rules spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. This year, they're cropping up in state and local races as well. Wealthy individuals and interest groups of all stripes are increasingly setting up political committees that can steer unlimited sums to small-dollar contests for state legislature, sheriff and school board. Four years after the Supreme Court ruled that Congress cannot restrict spending by political groups not directly affiliated with candidates, the "Super PACs" and other spending committees that sprung up in the wake of that decision are becoming a fixture in races farther down on ballot sheets, where their money can have a greater impact. In some cases, they are looking to bypass a gridlocked Washington that likely will not be more productive after the Nov. 4 congressional elections. In other cases, local operators are adopting tactics first developed at the national level. In Cumberland County, Maine, a property developer spent $100,000 on attack ads this spring in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the county sheriff in a Democratic primary. In Arkansas, a conservative entrepreneur routed money through a network of committees to help a political neophyte topple a Republican legislator who had worked with Democrats to expand health coverage for the poor. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative network backed by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, has sought to influence judicial contests in North Carolina and school board races in Tennessee and Wisconsin. "Our activists are motivated to affect change in their own communities, and often enjoy seeing results that are more tangible than with working on national issues," said Americans for Prosperity spokesman Levi Russell.

The increased activity reflects a new focus at the state level by interest groups that have made little progress in Washington. GUN CONTROL AT LOCAL LEVEL Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, plans to spend $12 million on a ballot initiative in Washington state and legislative races in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and Nevada to counteract the pro-gun influence of the National Rifle Association. Though firearms restrictions foundered in Congress in 2013, several states have since passed measures of their own. "Washington's broken, not just on guns but on many issues," said John Feinblatt, the group's president.

It's not easy to track outside spending at the state level, as reporting requirements vary and many states don't require any sort of disclosure at all. In the 21 states tracked by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a watchdog group, independent spending jumped from $175 million in 2006 to $245 million in 2010. The amount is likely to jump by a similar amount this year, said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group. "It's often the way things work in money and politics: practices are developed at the national and federal level, and those that work are replicated at the state and municipal level," Ryan said. LESS MONEY TO INFLUENCE LOCAL POLITICS

Independent groups have a mixed record at the top of the ticket, where candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate typically have substantial war chests. It is a different story further down the ballot, where candidates often have limited name recognition and their budgets amount to thousands, rather than millions of dollars. Colorado state Senate candidate Rachel Zenzinger, a Democrat, has struggled to rebut TV ads and mailers that accuse her of voting to use taxpayer money for a trip to China while serving on the city council in the Denver suburb of Arvada. Zenzinger has never been to China, and official records show she sponsored a measure to prohibit public money for a proposed trip to visit a sister city there. Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government, the Republican-funded group responsible for the ad, maintains it is accurate. Zenzinger has raised at least $240,000, nearly twice as much as her Republican challenger, and outside Democratic groups have also spent more than $120,000 to boost her candidacy. Still, it's been difficult to fight back against the ad, she said. "It's my reputation that's at stake here. If they're saying stuff that's blatantly false, it could affect the outcome of this election," Zenzinger said.

Blackstones large us$18bn cmbs tops list of priced deals

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (IFR) - The Blackstone Group's US$1.8bn CMBS refinancing of Motel 6, a low-cost lodging chain it bought three years ago, was the biggest structured finance deal to price on Thursday, bankers and investors said. Demand helped the issuer to tighten the top three classes 5bp-10bp from talk earlier in the week, even though the trade nearly cashed out Blackstone's entire US$626m equity stake in the company. Presale reports showed that the new financing returned US$600m in equity to Blackstone, a point that two investors said made it less attractive than the initial US$1bn CMBS, which helped finance Blackstone's 2012 acquisition of Motel 6 from Accor."Is it a concern? We have conflicted thoughts," one analyst said. "We don't like to see big cash outs. But again, that's one reason why we will look at the sponsor."Further down in credit, investors felt they wanted a bit more spread from Blackstone, particularly on the Triple B minus and Double B minus classes, which widened by roughly 15bp before they landed at Swaps plus 290bp and S+390bp, respectively. The only Triple A class on offer, an A-2A2 bond, landed at S+95bp, while the Double A minus landed at S+165bp; the Single A minus at S+200bp; and the B-/B at S+425bp. In primary ABS, Ascentium Capital also priced a US$330m equipment receivables trade called ACER 2015-1. So did, Element Rail's US$405m leasing deal dubbed ERL 2015-1. The Royal Bank of Canada also increased a credit card deal, called GCCT 2015-1, to US$525m from US$400m. There was also a US$500m subprime auto deal from Exeter Finance Corp, named EART 2015-1, which priced. Its AA/AAA rated A class cleared at EDSF plus 110bp, which was at the wide end of its guided 105bp-110bp range, according to syndicate bankers. But its bottom BB/BB tranche went off wider at interpolated swaps plus 440bp versus talk in the 425bp area.

STRUCTURED FINANCE WRAP FOR 2-26-2015: ABS PRICED: ACER 2015-1: US$330m equipment deal from Ascentium Equipment. Credit Suisse (str) and BAML. EART 2015-1: US$500m subprime auto ABS from Exeter Automobile. Wells Fargo (str) and Barclays.

EFF 2015-1: US$750.2m fleet lease ABS from Enterprise. BAML (str), JPMogan, Wells Fargo. ERL 2015-1: US$405m railcar leasing deal from Element Rail Leasing. Credit Suisse. GCCT 2015-1: US$525m credit card ABS from RBC Golden Credit Cards. Upsized from $US400m. RBC. ABS PENDING: CRART 2015-1: US$350m prime auto ABS from California Republic Bank. Credit Suisse.

FCAT 2015-1: US$280.725m subprime auto ABS from Flagship Credit. Wells Fargo. JDOT 2015: US$1bn equipment ABS from John Deere. Citi