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BRIAN BURLEY, HEAD, GLOBAL INVESTMENT BANKING, BANK OF AMERICA: Good morning and welcome, everybody, to Bank of America's 38th Annual Investor Conference. My name is Brian Burley and I am head of global investment banking. I would like to start just by thanking all of you for taking time away from your screens and making the effort to be here on this historic morning on Wall Street.
Obviously, we meet this year during an extraordinary period in the capital markets as well as the economy. We are facing extreme challenges in the capital markets with respect to liquidity and volatility and in the economy with respect to housing values and employment. It is our view that these market conditions are creating severe challenges, but also profound opportunities.
Last night, Bank of America announced an agreement to acquire Merrill Lynch. This $50 billion, all stock transaction will create a company unrivaled in its breadth of financial services and global reach. It enhances our current strengths at Bank of America and creates new ones, particularly outside of the United States. Merrill Lynch adds global strengths in debt underwriting, equities, and strategic advisory.
Because of the scale, strength, and stability of Bank of America, we are in an excellent position to help all of you achieve your strategic goals through our ability to commit our own capital and raise capital on behalf of issuer clients, make liquid markets for our investor clients, and provide long-term oriented strategic advice. The next several days should provide insight and perspective that can be helpful during times such as these. We welcome the senior executives representing more than 170 companies.
Before introducing our speaker this morning, I would note a few highlights of our conference. First of all, our luncheon keynote speakers. Today is David Bonderman, founding partner of TPG Capital, one of the world's leading private equity firms. Tomorrow, Richard Templeton, Chairman, CEO, and President of Texas Instruments. Later this morning I would note that we will have a panel discussion about global security trends featuring an adviser from each of the presidential campaigns.
I am very pleased this morning to introduce our keynote speaker, Barbara Desoer. Barbara was recently named the President of Bank of America Mortgage, Home Equity, and Insurance Services. This is one of the bank's three consumer businesses and includes the Countrywide business. As a result, Barbara will be able to provide her perspective on the consumer real estate business in the United States.
She has a 31-year record of leadership with our company. Prior to her current position, she was our Chief Technology and Operations Officer. She led strategy development and execution for our service and fulfillment operations and information protection. As a result, Barbara was one of the leading purchasers of technology and services in the world.
This position also involved M&A transition activities, the latter being of obvious importance to our company, particularly now. This is a company, keep in mind, that has completed over 700 acquisitions.
Barbara was also responsible for our payments technology strategy, no small accomplishment since Bank of America accounts for more than one quarter of all payment transactions in the United States. Barbara is no stranger to California, where her new position will take her. She was in the past the group Executive Vice President in our California retail banking group and was President of North California Banking. She earned her MBA from Berkeley, which named her 2007 business leader of the year.
One point of order I would note, we are not in a position to take questions today. Barbara will make her presentation and we will get right into the conference activity, so thank you in advance for that. I have also been …