James Bergeron, President, National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER)
James Bergeron currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER), which represents state, nonprofit, and private higher education finance organizations that provide a holistic approach to student success, from administering 529 college savings plans to operating state-funded grant, loan, scholarship, and college access and success programs for first-generation, low-income students. NCHER’s membership includes student loan lenders, servicers, secondary markets, guaranty agencies, private collection agencies, schools, and others that administer and service federal education loans and underwrite, administer, and service private education loans. Prior to joining NCHER, James worked as the Director of Education and Human Services Policy for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce (renamed the House Committee on Education and Labor). In this capacity, he advised the Chairman, members, and staff, and oversaw policy development on all areas of education and human services programs, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Head Start Act, and other federal laws governing elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. Before joining the Committee in 2006, James served as Legislative Director in California Rep. Buck McKeon’s personal office where he was responsible for developing and implementing the legislative agenda within the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness. He authored important legislative initiatives on college affordability and financial aid simplification. James began his Capitol Hill service almost 25 years ago as a Legislative Assistant to former Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston, who chaired the House Appropriations Committee. James also served as Vice President of MARC Associates (now part of Holland & Knight), a government relations firm where he consulted for a number of elementary and secondary education and higher education organizations. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
D. Grant Carwile, Managing Director, SL Capital Strategies LLC
Grant Carwile currently serves as Managing Director in SL Capital Strategies, a national financial advisory and consulting firm providing services to various participants in the fields of higher education & consumer loan finance, municipal finance, and corporate finance. His client base includes public, non-profit and private finance companies; banks and other lending institutions; loan servicing organizations; loan guaranty agencies; specialty data companies; higher education institutions; loan collections organizations; and small corporations. Mr. Carwile has been active in lending, financial advisory, investment banking and capital markets for over 31 years, including nearly 20 years at RBC Capital Markets. During his banking and financial advisory career, Mr. Carwile has provided a variety of financial services including capital formation; capital markets advisory; securities issuance; asset and company valuation; merger and acquisition advisory; asset sale advisory; lending platform design and development; strategic planning; and management consulting. He has been a frequent speaker at industry associations and asset-backed finance conferences. He is a graduate (BSBA) with high honors of the University of Arkansas and holds a Juris Doctor degree with high honors from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the UALR Law Journal. Mr. Carwile currently serves on the board of directors for FirstString Research (a bio-pharmaceutical company) and previously served on the boards of directors for the Roper Saint Francis Foundation, the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation and EdVantage Corporation.
Mark Cavin, Strategy Consultant & VP Sales, IonTuition
Mark has over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. He held management positions at Union Bank, Arrow Financial Services, Sallie Mae, Asset Acceptance Corp., and Jefferson Capital. Founder of Collection Intelligence, a consulting firm.
Debra Chromy, EdD, President, Education Finance Council (EFC)
Debra Chromy is the President of Education Finance Council (EFC), the national association representing nonprofit and state-agency student loan organizations. At EFC, Dr. Chromy leads EFC’s advocacy efforts on regulatory and legislative issues related to student loans and higher education. She collaborates with all EFC members, EFC’s Board of Directors, staff, the Administration, Congress, and other industry groups, facilitating and promoting EFC’s goals and initiatives. In addition, Dr. Chromy works to develop and implement member services and operational and communications strategies. Dr. Chromy has worked in the student loan industry her entire career, for a student loan lender of both private and federal loans, a student loan servicer, and a federal loan guarantor. Prior to EFC, Dr. Chromy served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for American Student Assistance (ASA), where she was a leader in ASA’s corporate strategic planning process and managed ASA’s external relationships and partnerships, including federal and state governments, colleges and universities, higher education associations, and other student loan industry organizations. Dr. Chromy received an A.B. in economics from Smith College, an M.B.A from Boston University, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Chromy has volunteered on a number of higher education and non-profit boards and is currently a member of the National Student Clearinghouse Board of Directors.
Joseph Cioffi, Partner, Davis & Gilbert LLP
Joseph Cioffi is a partner at Davis & Gilbert in New York City where he is Chair of the Insolvency, Creditors’ Rights & Financial Products Practice Group, a multidisciplinary practice spanning corporate, insolvency and litigation. He has a unique perspective afforded by his experience in all stages of credit and market cycles, including in subprime lending investments, operations and litigation. Joseph and his group have been deeply involved in disputes and litigation resulting from the last financial crisis. He has written for or has been quoted by numerous publications, including American Banker, Law360, Asset Securitization Report, The Banking Law Journal, Financial Times, The Journal of Bankruptcy Law, Auto Finance News and WNYC, regarding auto loans, student loans, marketplace lending, subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. In 2017, Joseph launched Credit Chronometer™, an award-winning microsite dedicated to analyzing the economic, market and political events that shape the legal landscape and impact loan and credit markets. Written from the perspective of lawyers and professionals, Credit Chronometer™ examines the effects of these events on future performance and participants’ exposure to legal and business risk.
Sharon Gold, Head of Capital Markets, College Ave Student Loans
Sharon Gold is the Head of Capital Markets at College Ave Student Loans, a private student loan fintech lending company. Sharon focuses on College Ave’s student loan securitizations, debt facilities, warehouse lines, loans sales and forward flow agreements. Prior to College Ave, Sharon spent over 20 years in the student loan business in senior level positions at investment banks and rating agencies. Sharon was a senior banker in the Fixed Income Division of Morgan Stanley where she worked on student loan ABS and municipal bond transactions for for-profit, state agency, and not-for-profit student loan lenders. Sharon was also the Head of Student Loan ABS Originations at ABN AMRO managing student loan securitizations and student loan financings through ABN’s ABCP conduits. At the rating agencies, Sharon was the Head of the Student Loan Ratings Group at Moody’s Investor Service. She also spent time at S&P Global developing and writing methodologies for the Structured Financed Group for all securitized asset types, including student loans. Sharon has a B.S. in Accounting from Syracuse University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York.
Robert Humann, General Manager, Credible
Robert Humann is the General Manager of Credible, the leading independent consumer finance marketplace in the U.S. Credible provides a unique and personalized experience that enables consumers to compare instant, accurate prequalified rates from multiple financial institutions across student loans, personal loans, credit cards, and mortgages, helping consumers save money and make better financial decisions. A career to-date in finance and technology naturally led to their intersection upon Robert joining Credible. Previously, he held senior roles in a technology-focused private equity fund and an early-stage medical technology company, and prior to that began his career in professional services consulting. Robert is passionate about bringing transparency, simplicity, and immediacy to the lifecycle of consumers’ financial decisions. A born and bred Australian, Robert followed his wife to the USA and now resides in San Francisco. Robert holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance.
John Hupalo, Founder & CEO, Invite Education
John Hupalo is nationally recognized expert in education loan finance and college planning. He is the co-author of Plan and Finance Your Family’s College Dreams (Peterson’s, 2016), host of the My College Corner Podcast, and regularly speaks on issues related to saving, planning and paying for college at conferences, on television and radio, and in print. Prior to founding Invite Education, he worked on Wall Street and served as the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of First Marblehead Corporation (NYSE:FMD). John received his B.A. with Honors from Boston University and an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Dr. A Wayne Johnson, Former Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Student Loans, US Department of Education
Dr. Arthur Wayne Johnson is a public servant, accomplished businessman, veteran, student loan expert, and life-long Georgia native. From 2017 to 2019, Wayne was a senior official in President Trump’s Administration, serving as the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid. Overseeing the largest provider of student financial aid in the country, Wayne successfully led thousands of employees whose mission was to make college education accessible and affordable for millions of Americans. Prior to entering public service, Wayne amassed over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, senior executive, and CEO of multiple businesses, both domestic and international, in the consumer finance and customer service support industries. Wayne’s professional career has given him first-hand knowledge of how to make higher education more cost-effective, so students and their families receive an education that improves their long-term employment prospects without taking on crushing levels of debt. He knows how to run organizations efficiently and effectively, and wants to continue to bring this solutions-oriented approach to the federal government. Wayne is a U.S. Army veteran, an Eagle Scout, and a product of Georgia’s education system. He holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University, a Masters of Business Administration from Emory University, and Bachelor of Arts from Mercer. He and his family have long called Macon, Georgia home.
Charles Kelley, Executive Director, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
Charles Kelley joined the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) in April 1991 as Deputy Director and was appointed Executive Director in 1993. Mr. Kelley served on the Board of the Education Finance Council from 1996 – 2002 where he served a two-year term as Chairman. A graduate of Harvard with a MA in Public Administration with a concentration in public finance, he received his Bachelors in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. Mr. Kelley is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst.
Balaji (Raj) Rajan, CEO, IonTuition
Balaji Rajan, aka RAJ, is CEO of Ceannate Corp, the parent of three companies providing technology enabled services in the higher education lifecycle to students and families, colleges and employers. Ceannate’s enterprise consists of companies META, IonTuition, and Financial Management Systems. META is the nation’s first mobile app that provides college students on-demand access to mental health counselors; IonTuition for Universities provides financial literacy and default aversion services to colleges and universities; IonTuition for Employers provides a voluntary benefit to Fortune 100 and small to mid-size businesses to help employers attract, retain and provide financial stability to employees; PIE by IonTuition is the nation’s newest and most complete ISA program manager and Servicer; Financial Management Systems is the nation’s most successful default portfolio manager for education related receivables. In addition to serving as CEO, Raj sits on the Ceannate Corp Board of Directors and has been active in education finance policy and operations. He is a contributor for various OpEds on The Hill and Roll Call publications in Washington. He is a member of YPO Gold in Chicago.
Ian Rasmussen, Senior Director, Fitch Ratings
Senior Director in ABS focusing on: ABCP, consumer unsecured loans, credit cards, and student loans. Long standing relationships in asset management, with strong background in commercial paper, money markets and cash management. Also broad exposure to investment products including: closed-end funds, money market funds and local government investment pools and across many asset classes. Earned a B.S. in finance from Southern Utah University and an MBA in finance from Fordham University Graduate School of Business.
Jonathan Riber, Vice President, DBRS Morningstar
Jon Riber is a Senior Vice President for DBRS and manages the company’s student loan ratings team. In addition to rating student loan transactions, Jon has developed and maintains methodologies for FFELP and private student loan securitizations. Jon joined DBRS in 2010. From 2003 to 2010, Jon was a Vice President within Citigroup’s investment banking group focusing on the origination and structuring of mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. From 1997 to 2003, Jon worked at Prudential Securities and Wachovia Securities focusing on the origination of structured finance transactions. Jon hold a BS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MBA from Bentley University.
Dubravka Ritter, Senior Industry Specialist, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Dubravka Ritter joined the Payment Cards Center as an industry specialist in May 2011. Prior to joining the Bank, she spent four years as an economist at the consulting firm Charles River Associates. While there, she performed fair-lending statistical and econometric analysis as part of regulatory compliance and risk management support for financial institutions with mortgage, payment card, auto loan, and other portfolios. She also conducted econometric analysis in support of litigation alleging antitrust violations and patent infringement, including market definition, demand analysis, and damages estimation. Her research interests include the economics of discrimination and equal access to credit, credit and payments markets for underserved consumers, and consumer payment choice. Ritter holds an M.A. in economics from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. in economics, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College.
Kathryn (Kate) Rock, Director, Banking, Insurance & Capital Markets, Guidehouse
Kathryn (Kate) Rock, CPA is a director within the Financial Services Advisory & Compliance segment at Guidehouse. With more than 17 years of experience advising banking, consumer finance, and government organizations, Kate specializes in providing solutions that help clients transform their business, minimize risk, address regulatory requirements, and solve complex accounting issues. She is a proven engagement leader with the ability to manage large complex projects in risk management and regulatory compliance, operational strategy and effectiveness, and accounting and auditing. She has managed teams focused on the industry’s most critical issues such as the Independent Foreclosure Review resulting from the financial crisis and key litigation cases impacting and shaping our industry. Kate started her career at Ernst & Young auditing various financial services clients domestically and internationally.
Arthur Rotatori, Member, McGlinchey Stafford
Arthur is a Member in McGlinchey Stafford’s Cleveland office. He handles consumer finance and regulatory matters relating to electronic records and signatures, private student loans or other unsecured loans, as well as personal property direct and indirect financing for banks, marketplace lenders, and other FinTech companies, loan program administrators and marketers, and finance companies. His practice involves advising those clients on how to create and manage multi-state consumer lending programs. Arthur has significant experience representing education loan program marketers and administrators in connection with licensing compliance, negotiation of loan program agreements, and general consumer credit compliance matters. He has helped numerous clients develop the documentation and procedures to create and execute consumer credit contracts online. Arthur has developed and maintained multi-state consumer credit programs for such clients as Buy-Here, Pay-Here used car dealerships, start-up online lenders, and student loan providers such as banks, credit unions, and non-bank companies that market and buy the loans in partnership with a bank. He works with a variety of clients who offer purchase money and alternative financing secured by motor vehicles and other personal property, and has assisted such clients with state and federal compliance reviews, portfolio acquisitions, and licensing matters. Arthur received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.
Steve Winnie, CEO, Campus Door Holdings, Inc
Steve Winnie is the CEO of CampusDoor. He also serves as the Corporate Secretary and Security Officer and heads the company’s business development efforts. In his various roles, Mr. Winnie oversees all operational, legal and regulatory matters and manages intake and implementation of new clients and loan programs. After graduating from Cornell Law School, Mr. Winnie worked in private practice in the Commercial Litigation Department of Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton, LLP. He then served as General Counsel to Campus Door, Inc. from 2006-2008. Mr. Winnie then worked as Associate General Counsel at Sallie Mae where his practice focused on private student loan originations, specifically marketing and advertising, new product development and regulatory compliance. Mr. Winnie rejoined CampusDoor in 2009.Mr. Winnie earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Cornell Law School. He is also a graduate of the ABA National Compliance School held in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Winnie is admitted to practice law before the state and federal courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Mr. Winnie’s community involvement includes participation on the Board of Directors of the Carlisle Family YMCA and the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel as well as serving as a certified youth coach for the Cumberland Valley Youth Basketball Association and the Cumberland Valley Youth Lacrosse Program.
Jon Wollman, Chief Product Officer, CURevl LLC
Jon is currently the Chief Operating Officer at CURevl, LLC, a credit union CUSO dedicated to helping credit unions enter the private student loan market. As COO, Jon is responsible for the business development, product design, and client relations for the company. Prior to joining CURevl, Jon has been involved in all aspects of the private student loan business, serving as Vice President HEMAR Insurance Corporation of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of SallieMae, and then ReliaMax Surety Company. Jon has spent much of his 30-year career focused on developing and delivering insurance products and services that mitigate credit risk for financial institutions and other holders of private student loans. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Huron College and a Master of Arts in Teaching History from Augustana College.