Mortgage industry mourns death of Patti Cook

Former FoA CEO retired in 2022 to focus on her health

Patricia “Patti” Cook, who broke the glass ceiling in the mortgage industry during a successful 45-year career, died on Friday at her home in New York. She was 70 years old.

Cook retired as CEO of Finance of America in June 2022 to focus on her health. She is survived by her three daughters, Kathleen Cook Suozzi, Colleen Cook Flannery, Annie Cook Carroll and her six grandchildren, as well as her sisters Laurie Bonello and Marybeth Solazzo.

“Patti was not only a remarkable leader but also a cherished friend and mentor,” Finance of America said in a statement following her death. “She demonstrated how to put family first, sharing stories of time with her children and grandchildren and supporting others to do the same.”

The statement continued: “Her loss is deeply felt, particularly by many here who worked with her closely for years, and we will miss her. Let us remember Patti for her professional achievements but most importantly for the incredible person she was. Her impact on Finance of America and all of us will never be forgotten.”

A native of Long Island, Cook earned an MBA from New York University and began her career at financial firm Arthur Young. She became the head of fixed income at Solomon Brothers in 1979. It was unusual for a woman to hold such a position on Wall Street at the time.

“For me, I wasn’t focused on women being unique in the workplace or having a bigger mountain to climb or anything like that,” she told HousingWire’s Sarah Wheeler in early 2022. “I genuinely feel I was lucky to have that job and I demonstrated that in my approach to work.”

She added: “I put my head down, worked hard every day, and I was rewarded for it. That commitment to excellence and working hard — even on the days when you might not feel up to it — really shaped my outlook and has been a key driver in my success.”

Cook became a managing director at Fisher Francis Trees & Watts before rising to become Chief Investment Officer of JPMorgan and then Chief Investment Officer for Prudential.

Between 2004 and 2008, during the height of the financial crisis, she served as executive vice president and chief business officer at Freddie Mac. In 2016, Cook joined Finance of America and took the company public. It was a top 15 lender in 2021 and she was named a HousingWire Woman of Influence.

After retiring from FoA in 2022, Cook spent her last months traveling and with family. She crossed the Drake Passage to Antarctica, biked in Vietnam, went whale watching in Canada, ranched in Montana and went skiing in Utah, according to her obituary.

“While known for her financial acumen, her real legacy is the humility and humanity which characterized her life’s pursuits,” her obituary read. “The eternal optimist to her last breath, she saw potential and goodness in all she touched, and had an unmatched dedication to helping others see it too.”

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