2021 Vanguard: Terri Merlino


As senior vice president and chief credit officer at Freddie Mac Single-Family, Terri Merlino is motivated by innovation and moving the housing industry forward each and every day. Merlino has had an extraordinary year and career, using her approximately 30 years of industry experience and proven leadership track record to make a difference. During the past 12 months of unprecedented COVID-19 challenges, she substantially and positively impacted Freddie Mac’s mortgage credit risk management and quality control efforts as well as its clients’ experiences.

Over the past year, Merlino has leveraged her broad-based knowledge of mortgage operations, sales, processing, underwriting, quality control and secondary marketing activities to substantially and positively impact Freddie Mac’s mortgage credit risk management efforts, as well as its clients’ experiences. Merlino was instrumental in leading the drive for industry adoption of Freddie Mac’s best-in-class risk assessment tools Loan Quality Advisor and Loan Product Advisor, to ensure loans delivered were acceptable to Freddie Mac’s risk appetite. This resulted in widespread adoption by year-end.

Merlino moved the dial forward for Freddie’s ongoing efforts to enhance its Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide — an enormous and critically essential client resource — to foster transparency and bring clarity to the organization’s guidelines, which included hundreds of requirements and updates throughout the year. These efforts made it easier for clients to do business with Freddie Mac. Merlino demonstrates her leadership skills not just at Freddie Mac, but throughout the industry. She has served on several industry committees, including Fannie Mae’s Risk Management Forum and Freddie Mac’s Credit Advisory Board.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“One piece of advice that’s helped me is take responsibility for your own career. Stop waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘You should apply for this job.’”


Terri Merlino


Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer

Company Name:

Freddie Mac Single-Family

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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