While most relationship-building activity at the recent Arizona conferences centered around client dinners and nights out at Christie's Cabaret, some chose off-the-run activities for bonding. For example, mega-issuer GMAC-RFC and the mortgage-related group from rating agency Moody's Investors Service jumped out of an airplane together.

Following the Friday sessions, at which time most of the conference filed out despite Saturday's half day, Diane Wold and Mark White of GMAC-RFC joined analysts Pramila Gupta and Jay Siegel of Moody's and jumped from over 11,000 feet in the air.

In tandem with jumpmasters Tony and Tom (pictured), Wold and Gupta jumped first, with Wold describing the feeling as: "Sheer joy at being alive!" White and Siegel followed as issuers paired with analysts for their jumps.

It was a first-time jump for rating analysts Gupta and Siegel and both expressed happiness following the jump and were eager to try it again. Siegel cited the weather and location as adding to the experience.

Wold had done this with market contacts previously, skydiving Minessota last June with Moody's Brian Clarkson, who missed the Arizona conferences due to a mountain climbing excursion.

The jump was through a company called Skydive Phoenix, which charges $130 per person for a tandem jump ($5 off for groups of three or more) with a video of the experience available for an additional $55. Ironically, the company plans to open a branch in the Bahamas, aptly titled Skydive Bahamas, in March, giving ABS participants plenty of time to schedule a jump during the October ABS East event. More information is available at (480) 855-6555 and the company's website is www.skydivephx.com

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