In a year of exits that has seen one investment bank leave munis, another bank bought out, and issuers getting out of the auction-rate market, the underwriting business has shifted, but not radically, at top firms.

The top three underwriters of municipal bonds didn't just see their volume drop in the first half of 2008 compared to last year, they lost market share as well, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters. While some of that could be attributed to an industry-wide, $3 billion overall drop in volume to $226.31 billion in the first half of 2008 compared to the same period last year, the combined volume at those three firms fell by $15.6 billion during those same periods.

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