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In 2005, the Philadelphia Fed created the Program in Consumer Credit and Payments (PCCP), an interdepartmental initiative to analyze a broad range of issues related to consumers' use of payment instruments and credit. The program is coordinated by the Payment Cards Center (PCC), which combines its resources with those of the Research, Community Affairs, and Supervision, Regulation and Credit (SRC) departments. In light of the financial crisis, there has not been a better time for bank staff to work together to better understand and address issues affecting millions of consumers.
In 2009, the PCCP launched a series of interactive web pages on the Bank's intranet to facilitate this collaboration. In addition to a calendar of events, the web pages have a sortable library with links to papers, articles, speeches, and presentations. The pages also allow members to recommend or discuss papers or events, e-mail the entire PCCP member list, or query other members. Collaborative tools such as these provide employees with the means to work together more effectively and efficiently.
Another development was the creation of a consumer credit data analysis function. This function is housed in the PCC but supports researchers elsewhere in the Bank who are working with large and complex micro data sets on consumer credit and payments.
One outgrowth of the PCCP is an increase in published research by staff from a number of departments and an increase in joint programming on timely issues. For example, in 2009, the PCC and the Community Affairs Department organized a conference on data limitations that interfere with our understanding of mortgage and real estate markets and the efforts required to overcome those limitations. The PCC and SRC cosponsored a workshop on advances in mortgage risk models. In addition, the PCC and the Research Department held the fifth biennial conference on Recent Developments in Consumer Credit and Payments.