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Iconic ABS analyst leaves Amherst

Urban Institute hires four and creates housing policy center

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It's hard to imagine Amherst Securities releasing mortgage-related research without Laurie Goodman's name on it. But, as of this week, it's a reality the market will need to accept.

"My last day at Amherst Securities LP was September 6. I have decided to pursue full time my longstanding interest in public policy issues," an auto generated response to her Amherst email explains.  "I have joined the Urban Institute, a Washington DC based think tank, as the Center Director of the newly formed Housing Finance Policy Center."

Brian Landy will take the lead on agency (GSEs, Ginnie Mae) mortgage-backed securities analysis at Amherst. Lidan Yang will cover the non-agency market.

Goodman is a regular HousingWire fixture, both as a source quoted in magazine feature and as a provider of data tailored to our subscribers. Goodman most recently put together an excel spreadsheet plotting the current performance of adjustable-rate mortgages for the October issue, for example. She was also named a housing economy 2012 Woman of Influence by HousingWire.

Goodman also appeared and participated in HousingWire conference panels from 2010 to 2012, once stumping then CEO of Freddie Mac, Ed Haldeman, with a question on diverging mortgage servicing fees. "You're asking a question I don't have an answer for," Haldeman responded.

The move is a perfect fit for Goodman. Her hallmark is always to fight for the voice of small guy, and at Amherst that was the private securitization investor. Goodman would thus fall sometimes against the will of bigger financial institutes and Wall Street interests. In an interview with HousingWire, Goodman once said "everyone would like a larger platform to be heard." Well now, Goodman herself has it.

The Urban Institute is a housing and consumer finance policy nonprofit. Goodman's hire as center director also comes with the addition of other faces, as well. Goodman will work with three new housing experts and will answer to Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell, herself a public policy and housing markets expert.

“The Urban Institute is home to some of the country’s finest scholars, spanning the fields of consumer finance, demographics, affordable housing, and community development, among other issues,” Wartell said. “Building this dream team in housing finance is the perfect complement to our existing expertise.”

Other team members are former US Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan adviser Jim Parrott; former Office of Thrift Supervision and Fannie Mae veteran Ellen Seidman; former Freddie Mac senior economist Jun Zhu.

The four are tasked with providing unbiased analysis to better understand how housing finance system affects households, communities and the macroeconomy, Wartell added, especially in the low and middle classes.

The former housing adviser to the Urban Institute, Ed Golding, is leaving his role to become a senior adviser at HUD.

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