All photos by Stephen Voss
When Tim Mayopoulos was vetted prior to joining Fannie Mae nearly 10 years ago in the role of general counsel, board members explained it would only take 12 to 18 months for the company to turn around.
That isn’t what it took. It took putting Mayopoulos in charge, years later, to turn the company around. And that’s exactly what he did.
Mayopoulos joined Fannie Mae in 2009 as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. The next year, in 2010, he became the government-sponsored enterprise’s chief administrative officer. Just two years later, Fannie named him president and chief executive officer.
“It was almost a decade ago, and I didn’t think I would one day be CEO,” Mayopoulos said in a recent interview with HousingWire after announcing plans to step down by the end of the year. “When I became CEO, the primary task was stabilize the company. The housing market was so different then, the conditions were very difficult and there was low morale among our people.”
“We also didn’t have a playbook to deal with all the delinquencies and foreclosures,” he adds. “As for returning to profitability, no one thought we’d be able to do it.”
Mayopoulos championed the company’s emerging customer-centric strategy and pushed for greater delivery of innovations that benefit lenders and borrowers alike. Collateral Underwriter and Day One Certainty immediately come to mind as success stories under the Mayopoulos regime.
“Fannie Mae was proud to introduce Day 1 Certainty [in 2016] and we have worked tirelessly to build on the benefits it provides,” said Mayopoulos last year when providing an update to new services being unveiled at Fannie.
“We continue to listen and learn from our many customers who have signed up for one or more of our Day 1 Certainty services, and we are using that feedback to make the mortgage process faster, less expensive and easier for everyone.”
“We are committed to delivering more innovative solutions that help solve our customers’ most important business challenges and creating a stronger and safer 21st century housing finance system,” Mayopoulos said.
In that same timeframe, Fannie Mae introduced its new Single Source Validation, which allows lenders to validate a borrower’s income, assets and employment through one report using source data rather than multiple paper documents. The company explained this step will amplify savings and simplify loan origination.
Its new application programming interface platform will allow lenders to utilize Fannie Mae’s data and technology solutions to quickly access the full set of Desktop Underwriter Messages data, driving greater efficiency.
Finally, its new Servicing Marketplace will connect servicers to sellers who are interested in partnering with each other for serving transfers when sellers sell loans to Fannie Mae, giving more transparency in the system while removing cost and friction.
And before that, in 2015, Fannie introduced Collateral Underwriter, its proprietary appraisal risk assessment application developed to support proactive management of appraisal quality.
Under his leadership, Fannie Mae strengthened both its business model and its financial performance; through the second quarter of 2018, Fannie Mae has paid $167.3 billion in dividends to the Treasury.
And, as an added bonus, his people like him. Among chief executives in the United States rated by their employees, Mayopoulos received a 92% approval rating from full-time and part-time employees. Of the 700,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, the average CEO approval rating is only 67%.
Interestingly, in employee comments on Glassdoor, some describe the environment of working as Fannie Mae as one of constant learning of new software products. These employees list this as both a pro and a con. Mayopoulos can be credited for this state of flux.
“Fannie Mae is now faster, more efficient and less risky,” in part because of these constant improvements, he said. And while he started in law, the tech bug certainly has him now; he believes his next step is to remain in financial services at an automation-forward fintech firm.
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