Cantor Fitzgerald LP, the bond broker run by Howard Lutnick, is jumping into a part of the shadow banking system that shrank 73 percent in five years.

The firm is arranging a fund that aims to issue as much as $20 billion of commercial paper to help finance banks, the first of its kind to be rated this year by Moody's Investors Service or Standard & Poor's. The borrowing will be backed by arrangements that allow "major global banks" to shift assets of any type into the pool as collateral, with the promise of repurchasing them or covering losses.

Cantor is betting demand will return to a market that is extending declines started during the U.S. housing crisis in 2007, when it peaked at $1.2 trillion. Outstanding asset-backed commercial paper in the U.S. fell 15 percent the past year to $323.6 billion as investors avoided debt of European lenders amid the region's fiscal crisis and regulators debate rules to stem risks from financial markets, Federal Reserve data show.

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