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Best financial borrower - Latin America

GMAC Financiera

The centrepiece of the Mexican government's social programme is its homebuilding scheme. For the first time, working-class Mexicans can afford to buy their own homes, taking out government-supported mortgages from Mexican mortgage lenders, or sofoles.

A lot of the sofoles are small, however, and in need of liquidity. They're good at originating loans, but they are far from the obvious place to warehouse them.

Enter GMAC Financiera, a subsidiary of GMAC RFC – the residential funding arm of the financing arm of General Motors. GMAC felt it was time to move into the Mexican market in late 2001, but spent the first two years in the country putting together a loan portfolio and getting its paperwork in order. Even after mandating CSFB as lead manager, it took eight months to get the first deal to market: a $53 million bond with an expected average life of five years, denominated in UDIs, or inflation-linked Mexican pesos.

The bond, which finally came in December 2003, was the first ever traditional mortgage-backed security in Mexico, and was sold mainly to local pension funds. It came with a partial guarantee from Dutch development bank FMO, which helped get it a triple-A national-scale rating from both Moody's and S&P.

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