Anthony O’Connor reports on why covered bonds are becoming a favourite funding tool for banks.

Although the legislation has been in place for Spanish banks and financial institutions to issue cedulas or covered bonds since the early 1980s, it is really only in the past couple of years that issuance has boomed. According to market data compiled by savings bank La Caixa, at mid-December 2003, nearly -60bn of cedulas hipotecarias – covered bonds backed by residential mortgages – are outstanding from nine issuers, with 32 transactions to date. Equally striking are figures for the end of 2003, which show that cedulas hipotecarias will account for about 13% of all mortgage funding, almost double that of 18 months ago. But opinion is split about why cedulas are becoming a favourite funding tool.

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