In this year’s Influential Women special section, we talk with 30 women leaders helping to shape the housing sector. These are decision-makers who have distinguished themselves as innovators, entrepreneurs and trailblazers.
Please see our full magazine flip book where we delve into why we think it’s important to get to know them. Some are household names. Others may fly under the radar but are influential in their day-to-day work to make this industry strong. Their experience spans a wide spectrum, from housing policy on the steps of Capitol Hill to running large nonprofits. They include lenders, mortgage servicers, housing analysts and technology gurus.
We hope you enjoy reading their stories of success as much as we enjoyed telling them.
Director of Policy, Office of Homeownership Preservation | Treasury Department
The “architect” of the Home Affordable Modification Program, the most ambitious and one of the most maligned government initiatives to combat the foreclosure crisis, is certainly influential.
Congress allocated more than $29.9 billion for servicers, investors and borrowers in the hopes of preventing between 3 million and 4 million foreclosures since it launched in March 2009. Completed permanent modifications didn’t pass 1 million until this spring on just more than 2 million trial plans offered.
“If I were able to rewrite this program from the beginning, there are many things that would look like they do today,” says Laurie Maggiano, who serves as a housing adviser to senior level officials at the Treasury Department and other federal agencies.
HAMP was originally scheduled to expire at the end of 2012, but the Treasury decided earlier this year to extend it another year, relax certain rules and offer higher payouts in the hopes of reaching more borrowers and inducing more principal reduction.
Servicer participation in the new rule changes has been uneven with some missing implementation of the new guidelines by the June 1 deadline. Some commentators, including the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, alerted Treasury to the potential increase in fraud by allowing investors who bet on an overheated real estate market into the taxpayer-funded program.
Still, Maggiano believes the program will end up being more beneficial than detrimental. She does anticipate the redefault rate going up by easing the rules, but she sees them as a necessary but possibly last step in tweaking HAMP. She says future changes to the program are still possible but very unlikely.
“One of the things I’m proud of is that I have managed to maintain a very positive relationship with the senior leadership at all of the servicers. But if we have to change the program again, that might end very quickly,” Maggiano says. “Each time a change happens, servicers have to regroup. They needed to work hard but you can only push a structure so far. It’s time for servicers to have an opportunity to be successful with the tools they now have.”
Maggiano, since the 2009 initiation of HAMP, has held primary responsibility for the research and drafting of 35 major policy documents, an effort that required the collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders within the government and private sector.
Her milestones date back to the late 1970s when she received a real estate broker’s license in Arizona. She even spent a two-year stint early in her career as editor of a biweekly real estate trade journal. More recently, Maggiano served as acting director of the Office of Single Family Asset Management at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, she was a primary architect of HUD’s successful single-family loss-mitigation program.
Maggiano’s achievements include a Women in Default Servicing leadership award and a lifetime achievement award for her leadership in mortgage servicing.
Nonprofits — the Cuyahoga Land Bank, NeighborWorks America, Rebuilding Together, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, PCV|VRM Seeds of Hope and many more local organizations — are investing significant resources to improve America’s most vulnerable housing markets.