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Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.
Investments

Fannie Mae CEO reveals 4 management tools to increase profitability

This. For those tired of the regular earnings coverage

February 19, 2016

In case you missed it, Fannie Mae just made a boatload of money, again.

Fannie Mae earlier today posted a fourth-quarter 2015 net income of $2.5 billion, up from $2 billion in the third quarter of 2015, and a comprehensive income of $2.3 billion, which was up $2.2 billion from the third quarter.  

So, what’s the big secret to success at the government-sponsored enterprise?

“We are very focused on serving our partners,” explained Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos.

Considering all the coverage around Fannie today will focus on those profits, I decided to go down a different route and ask Mayopoulos about his management methods, which apparently helped to yield such good results.

He provided four management tools he utilizes to help increase profitability.

[Note: The four tools are, in fact, Mayopoulos’ ideas. For the most, with the exception of the final point, the explanations are my further extrapolation of the logic I believe is at play here.]

1. Lean down management

Mayopoulos suggested that less management is actually better and in this case, his advice is to have fewer, not more, managers.

2. Eliminate layers

Too many managers isn’t the only problem for reducing bloat at a company as big as Fannie Mae. To drive profits, superfluous operations — overlapping roles for instance — must be discovered and eliminated.

3. Drive collaboration and teamwork

Don’t deliver edicts to staff and leave them to figure it out themselves. Also, don’t micromanage projects and expectations. Put people together and let them work it out, which brings us to the final point…

4. Create “interdisciplinary teams”

“It’s a new way of working, it empowers people on the front lines,” Mayopoulos explained. These teams are made up of 10 or so people who have a single skill set, be it tech/servicing/lending/litigation etc. “Put them in a single location and have them work with a dedicated set of customers,” he added. Then take their results, their problems solved, and see if the solutions can be applied company-wide.

"We feel good about the state of housing, home prices and the creation of households,” Mayopoulos said.

“More millennials will enter the [housing] market,” he concluded.

And with these management tools in place, Mayopoulos believes Fannie Mae will be able to capitalize on these new entrants, and capitalize, big time.

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