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Citigroup Inc. this week offered investors a $3 billion, three-year bond issue backed by credit card loans that is eligible for investor funding through the Federal Reserve's Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility. The deal carries a triple-A rating. The Fed on Tuesday began accepting requests for its $200 billion TALF initiative. The goal is to jump-start the securitization market, which shrank from more than $1 trillion in 2006 to just $3 billion during the first two months of this year. The Fed funds enable investors to purchase new, top-tier bonds backed by auto, credit card, student and small-business loans. Earlier this week, the Fed announced its funds through this facility may increase to $1 trillion and could include mortgage-backed securities. The Fed said it lent $4.7 billion to the first round of borrowers through its term lending facility. Other companies tapping the funds included Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Motor Credit Co. and Nissan Motor Co., with bond deals worth $3 billion and $1.5 billion respectively backed by auto loans. Huntington Bancshares Inc.'s Huntington National Bank also offered an $830 million bond deal backed by auto loans. The Fed on March 25 will release its first monthly batch of funds under the program.

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