Freddie to link employee pay with customer satisfaction
How Freddie Mac pays its employees will be linked directly to future lender satisfaction surveys. Freddie CEO Charles "Ed" Haldeman told a group of Mortgage Bankers Association members on Tuesday the firm will be changing the focus of how its employees work with banks that sell, service and invest with the company. These front-line Freddie workers will be given "intense credit training," he said, so they will not have to go back to the company's credit team for as many questions. "The outcome of our customer survey will be an important part of employee compensation," Haldeman said. "Every employee, regardless of whether or not they're in legal or the credit part of the company will be tied to the notion of customer satisfaction. We're serious about changing the focus at Freddie Mac." He added the company began updating its inner business technology processes not only to be more responsive to its partners but to save taxpayer money. In 2010, Freddie was able to cut spending because of these upgrades by $90 million. He also ordered more leadership training for hundreds of workers. "For too many years at Freddie Mac, the focus in terms of hiring people and promoting people revolved around subject-matter experts with technical capability and a little less focus on leadership," Haldeman said. "Our focus now is take technical people and train them to be practical leaders." An officer group of roughly 160 began four-to-eight month leadership training programs recently. After those are completed, another 500 employees at the directorate level will go through the same training. Morale at the beleaguered firm is at an all-time low as policy makers and the public continue to work toward unwinding it and Fannie Mae. But in many reports, including from the government-sponsored enterprises most tenacious critics, the workers there will provide some value to the future housing finance system, whatever it looks like. This is because these are almost the only people currently doing it, considering Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae have supported 95% of the mortgage market since the crisis. "We are working to shift the culture environment for our employees to feel committed and engaged," Haldeman said. "That sounds like it's easy, but it's particularly challenging to keep our workforce committed and working hard considering the unusual circumstances regarding our underlying future." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.