Position: Senior vice president and chief operating officer of single-family operations, Freddie Mac, a buyer of home mortgages
Career highlights: Senior vice president, Project Enterprise; senior vice president, customer services and control; vice president, loan prospector; vice president, structured finance; vice president, securities, sales and trading group.
Education: BS, Accounting, Old Dominion University
Personal: Lives in McLean with his wife, Karen, and children Kyle, 16; Jordan, 13; Hannah, 11; and Mackenzie, 9.
You've been with Freddie Mac for almost 20 years. How have the years prepared you for your current position? I have very broad experience. I've managed the financing piece of the business; I've managed our purchase piece, which is the front-end business. Operations is the process that connects the origination market to financing. That broad experience allows me to integrate the originator needs with the financing needs by optimizing the operations, considering each of those needs.
After a vibrant sellers' market, we're now seeing housing prices begin to level off following a moderate decline. What caused the soaring market in the first place? And what can consumers expect in this changing market? The booming market comes from the drop in interest rates in the last two years, and the opportunity for homeowners to lower their cost of housing by taking advantage of the refinance option. If rates continue to drop, they should expect additional opportunities to lower cost of housing. The affordability of housing is high because of where the market is for new buyers. If the rates continue to drop, the affordability will increase for both current homeowners and new buyers. If rates stay steady or increase, consumers can expect higher service levels from lenders as lenders compete for smaller amounts of the business.
What are your operational goals? Redesigning the business process in Freddie Mac around the new technology that we're building. It's a fairly big project and multiyear effort. With Project Enterprise we've been building technology for a couple of years, and . . .
That's the e-business initiative you started. Yes, and we're at the point now of introducing the technology into both our customers' business processes and our own business processes. My focus is that one of the things that we're dealing with is bringing about that technological change and the operational change. The short-term focus is bringing about technology and operational change, while maintaining quality in a record volume year.
Any challenges? One challenge is understanding the refinance market will come to an end. How do you get the business done in a record market but not overstaff for the future? How to maintain the quality of the business in booming years is a fairly big challenge for us. This is becoming a record year for us. Maintaining the morale of the staff, the integrity of the business and the quality of the business is the fairly sizable short-term focus for myself and the staff.
-- Judith Mbuya