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When the Payment Cards Center was established in 2000, its mission was to be a source of knowledge and expertise on this important segment of the financial system, which includes credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, stored-value cards, and similar payment vehicles. To accomplish this, part of the plan was to develop relationships with others in the Bank whose work would support this mission. At that time, Bob Hunt was identified as someone who could be important to the center. As a senior economist in the Bank's Research Department, his research focused on consumer payments, consumer finance, and the economics of innovation. His work includes studies of the dynamics of the consumer credit reporting industry, credit counseling organizations, the collections industry, and antitrust issues in consumer payment networks.
Early on, Bob's working paper on consumer credit reporting in America was one of the first to be added to the Payment Cards Center's website, to be followed by others, such as "An Introduction to the Economics of Payment Card Networks."
In 2002, the Payment Cards Center and the Research Department sponsored their first conference together, with Bob taking the lead. Since then, Bob has continued to take the lead on our cosponsored conferences, with our fifth joint conference scheduled for September 2009.
In the seven years Bob has worked with the center, he has helped guide its research activities in an informal advisory role to the center's director. With such a strong presence in the work of the Payment Cards Center, it was no surprise when he was selected to succeed Peter Burns as the center's director.
Bob joined the Payment Cards Center as an assistant vice president in January 2009. In April 2009, he became the director of the Payment Cards Center with responsibility for managing the center and its research agenda. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in political science and economics from Butler University.
Before he joined the Bank in 1998, Bob worked as an associate analyst for the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Prior to attending graduate school, he was an industry risk analyst for Bank One, Indianapolis.