Freddie Mac has named former Wells Fargo deputy general counsel Heidi Mason its new general counsel.
Mason will assume the role March 7, and will replace Jerry Weiss, who has been general counsel on an interim basis since March 2021.
Weiss will continue to serve as Freddie Mac’s senior executive liaison to its conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Treasury, which holds warrants to purchase 79.9% of the GSEs’ common stock, in his longtime role of chief administrative officer. Weiss was the fifth-highest earning named executive officer at Freddie Mac in 2021, with a total compensation of $2.3 million.
“Heidi brings deep expertise in areas across the legal spectrum, including in mortgage lending, servicing, credit access and regulatory matters, among others,” said Michael DeVito, CEO of Freddie Mac. “I have no doubt she quickly will become a valuable member of Freddie Mac’s executive team.”
Mason is the second ex-Wells Fargo executive to come aboard Freddie Mac in the past year. DeVito, who assumed the role of CEO in June 2021, held numerous positions at the bank from 2007 to 2020, including, most recently, head of home lending. Wells Fargo is also the largest servicer of Freddie loans, servicing 8% of Freddie Mac’s single-family loan portfolio in 2021. Freddie’s other top 10 servicers service 39% of the loan portfolio.
As general counsel, Mason will be responsible for Freddie Mac’s legal division, including advising the board of directors and senior management on legal and governance matters and litigation strategy. She will also lead Freddie Mac’s efforts to navigate complex business and regulatory initiatives, within the complex web of relationships that define Freddie Mac’s conservatorship arrangement.
As the mortgage world becomes more technologically interconnected, the risks to cybersecurity, data and infosecurity increase. These risks should be top-of-mind for mortgage professionals, as evidenced by recent changes at Freddie Mac that emphasize risk mitigation and cybersecurity efforts.
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Most recently, Mason was a partner at majority-woman owned law firm ElevateNext Law, where she advised financial services companies on legal, consulting and regulatory matters. Mason has also been on the board of One Economy Financial Development Corporation, which provides financial coaching, and small-balance loans in the Black community in central Iowa, since 2020, and is funded in part by a grant from Wells Fargo.
Before joining ElevateNext, Mason spent 17 years as executive vice president and senior deputy general counsel at Wells Fargo.
Prior to that, she defended financial institutions in investigations brought by the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and banking regulators, and in class actions brought under fair lending laws.