Tim Mayopoulos on leading Blend after leaving Fannie Mae
This week, HousingWire’s editor in chief Sarah Wheeler interviews Tim Mayopoulos, the president of Blend, on what it’s like leading a tech company after serving as CEO of Fannie Mae for six years. In this episode, Mayopoulos discusses innovation in the mortgage industry, building a great company culture and what he thinks about the future of the GSEs.
Mayopoulos also discusses the role of the private sector in moving the ball forward on expanding homeownership, as well as what makes him excited about the mortgage industry right now.
Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:
Sarah Wheeler: Expanding homeownership is at the core of the GSE mission as part of its Duty to Serve — encompassing manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing. Now, working outside the GSEs, how do you see the role of companies — as opposed to the government — in moving the ball forward?
Tim Mayopoulos: One of the things that people on the single-family mortgage side of the industry sometimes don’t appreciate as much about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is, they’re also among the very largest lenders to multifamily property owners. In my view, the goal of the GSEs should not be to promote homeownership at all cost. We’ve seen some of the downsides of putting people into homes they can’t afford as it doesn’t do them any favors and doesn’t do the system any favors. What we should be doing as a country, as a matter of public policy, is ensuring that everybody in America has access to good, reasonably affordable housing they can own or rent. I think that since the crisis, certainly, Fannie and Freddie have become a little bit more balanced around thinking about homeownership versus rental. But there are some very serious challenges the country faces around housing, the most serious challenge being supply. I think that policymakers have done a good job of increasing accessibility to credit. It’s not perfect, there’s still more work to be done, but we have good credit standards now and there’s better credit accessibility than there used to be. However, home prices are a real problem. Rents are a real problem. These are really a function of a lack of supply. That’s not a solution that I believe Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are easily in a position to do anything about.
The Housing News podcast explores the most important topics happening in mortgage, real estate, and fintech. Each week a new mortgage or real estate executive joins the show to add perspective to the top stories crossing HousingWire’s news desk. Hosted by Sarah Wheeler and produced by Alcynna Lloyd.