Fannie, Freddie CEOs to watch conference budgets next time
The CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac admitted to Congress that much of the $640,000 spent at the Mortgage Bankers Association expo in October was a mistake and would be corrected in the future. A House subcommittee grilled Freddie CEO Charles "Ed" Haldeman, Fannie CEO Mike Williams and their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Acting Director Edward DeMarco for the tab. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, received the budgets for the expo that took place in Chicago. He pointed out that in their combined budgets the GSEs held $51 million for meals and social activities for employees. "We have division budgets, and I monitor those. But there is some ability of managers below me to make decisions on spending, and I don't think we did as good a job as we should on that MBA program," Haldeman said. Both Haldeman and Williams said the conference was the most efficient way to speak and interact with every major seller and mortgage servicer in the industry at one place. Williams also said next year they would take a closer look at what is spent. "We did not do it perfectly," he said. "There were some things done that we're going to take care of next year." DeMarco, too, said there would be changes to how the GSEs spend money at industry conferences going forward. "Certain individual expenditures could have been done away with, and they could have still met the essential business propositions," DeMarco said. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.