Not that it should surprise any industry participant -- but if you needed proof on just how dead the private-party issuance side of the mortgage business really is, consider that just $7.7 billion in mortgages were securitized by private conduits in Q1 2008. And only eight firms were involved in new issues. The statistics, reported Wednesday by Inside Mortgage Finance, paint a stark contrast to the 40 firms that pumped out more than $240 billion just one year earlier. The only assets moving even a little bit, according to the publication, are traditional jumbos (meaning not subprime, and not what would traditionally be considered Alt-A). We're hearing from our sources that a few bankers and lenders are hoping to restart their engines later this year, but at this point, it seems like that sort of talk may be more an expression of hope than an outline for business execution.