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Investments

New Freddie CEO shuffles key divisions in single securitization move

The new chief of Freddie Mac reorganized the company's highest divisions, walling off its single-family segment and putting someone in charge of developing a single securitization platform, according to a memo provided to HousingWire.

The Freddie board selected Don Layton, the former head of brokerage firm E*Trade Financial, to run the government-sponsored enterprise in May. He replaced Charles "Ed" Haldeman, who decided to leave last year.

After two months, Layton decided to make changes. "I have seen that there are opportunities to improve how we are organized against the tasks now at hand," Layton wrote.

Layton put Trez Moore, head of the strategic investment group at Freddie, in charge of developing a single securitization platform and a related pooling and servicing agreement project.

Since the beginning of the year, industry leaders and investors pushed both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pool their mortgage bonds together in order to eliminate trading disparities. Freddie bonds trade lower than Fannie securities. They are less liquid and the trading volume is significantly less, forcing taxpayers to subsidize the difference in cost.

A Freddie spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Layton called it the "biggest conservatorship undertaking on our horizon," according to the memo.

He also focused the single-family division, to be run by Paul Mullings, on securitization, servicing, REO and other operations.

"The (single-family) division will be better able to execute on that goal when it isn't also dedicated to corporate-wide support responsibilities," Layton wrote in the memo.

Layton also put in place a new group to handle conservatorship duties. The GSE drew $72.3 billion in bailouts from the Treasury Department since entering conservatorship in 2008 and paid back $18.3 billion in dividends.

Steve Clinton, a senior vice president at Freddie, will lead the group and will be the primary point of contact for the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Clinton will report to the chief administrative office led by Jerry Weiss and will work with the FHFA on planning and developing new ideas going forward, according to the memo.

"I want to specifically point out one great benefit of this type of structure is that our regular line managers will no longer have their primary responsibilities substantially and repeatedly interrupted to work on FHFA initiatives the way they do now," Layton wrote. "I expect that there will be additional corporate initiatives, not directly related to conservatorship, which will also be assigned to this group."

jprior@housingwire.com

@JonAPrior

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