Ms. Phelps joined the firm in 2000 and specializes in the card issuing practice area and leads the loyalty support strategic initiative for the firm. She has been engaged by financial institutions, major US brands and payment processors in various tactical, operational and strategic roles. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, outsourcing, credit card operations management, negotiations and card issuing partnerships. Sarah has leveraged her expertise to identify market opportunities and to formulate strategies for growth and optimization of capital return. Recent engagements include leading business case development, partner selection, negotiations and implementation planning processes for outsourcing arrangements for financial institutions in the United States and Canada and for card issuing partnership for major U.S. brands. She has also provided assistance to credit card issuers in conversion organization and execution, interim operational management and portfolio value preservation strategies. Recent clients include Merrill Lynch, Aetna, Smithsonian Institution, and Wachovia. Through recent experiences Ms. Phelps has been able to develop insight into two areas of change in the payments market: health care and loyalty programs. Based upon her work with a major health care payer, she co-authored an article that was published in the American Banker regarding the regulatory hurdles between health care and financial services. In addition, her industry observations relative to the state of outsourcing and the increasing importance of customer loyalty programs are quoted in other industry publications. Previously, Sarah was with Dow, Lohnes & Albertson, PLLC, a Washington, D.C. based law firm, where she was involved with companies through various stages of capitalization including seed capital funding, secured and unsecured debt financings, and initial public offerings. Her experiences include completion of stock and asset transactions, tender offers, joint ventures, corporate restructurings and leveraged buy-outs. Ms. Phelps industry insights have been published in the American Banker and Transaction World. She received her M.B.A. in finance from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and her B.A. from Washington College.
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