Ocwen Financial (OCN) tapped US Department of Housing and Urban Development veteran Steven Nesmith to serve as senior vice president and assistant general counsel for strategic and government initiatives at the company. The West Palm Beach-based asset manager and subprime mortgage servicer hired Nesmith to work out of its Washington, DC office, bringing a colorful background of working alongside -- and within -- government agencies. He comes to Ocwen Financial from Holland & Knight, where he served in affordable housing. At Holland & Knight, Nesmith led the firm's US and global efforts to help corporate clients navigate the heightened regulatory environment, legislation reforms and government contract opportunities related to the Treasury Department's TARP program, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., HUD and other agencies. From 2003 to 2005, he served as assistant secretary of HUD, where he was responsible for Congressional, intergovernmental and industry relations. "Steven Nesmith has a deep understanding of the mortgage crisis -- and of Ocwen's unique ability and commitment to help homeowners avoid foreclosure while also providing the best possible returns for investors in an exceptionally challenging environment," said Paul Koches, Ocwen's executive vice president and general counsel. "That understanding, plus his significant experience in housing issues and governmental relations, make him a tremendous asset as we pursue revenue-generating opportunities in both the private and public sectors." Write to Diana Golobay.