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Anthony M. Santomero, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, welcomed conference speakers and participants. In his remarks, he outlined the Bank’s motivation for hosting this forum on asset-backed securities and credit cards.
As he explained, the Philadelphia Fed has developed a special focus on the payment cards industry through its Payment Cards Center and a related initiative, a Federal Reserve System-wide effort to expand the Fed’s knowledge of advanced approaches to quantifying retail credit risk. With credit card loans totaling nearly $700 billion, balance-sheet-management technologies and innovative funding strategies have become increasingly important factors in supporting industry growth and profitability. As Vernon Wright made clear in his keynote address, development of the asset-backed securities market for credit card receivables has been a critical innovation in addressing these challenges.
Nevertheless, as Santomero went on to say, “Few outside of industry and regulatory specialists have a broad grasp of the range of opportunities and risks posed by these securitization processes…Indeed, it is with the intent of shedding new light on these issues that we have convened this group of qualified experts today.”
In closing, Santomero suggested that “over the course of this day, our goal should not necessarily be to reach conclusions but perhaps, more realistically, to use these discussions to develop broader understanding and insight into those factors needed to support stronger and healthier markets.”