Welcome to another edition of our blog series, A Day in the Life, which will introduce you to HUD employees and highlight the important work they do.
Today we meet Leslie Meaux, Director of the Monitoring and Asset Management Division of Ginnie Mae.
Can you tell me a little bit about Ginnie Mae?
Ginnie Mae is a government-owned corporation within HUD. We guarantee Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), which raise funding for virtually all loans insured or guaranteed by the U.S. government. This includes the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing. Ginnie Mae does not originate loans or issue MBS, which means we have no exposure to credit risk if a borrower defaults on their loan. Ginnie Mae facilitates a diverse range of products including single-family and multifamily properties, and currently has a $1.5 trillion portfolio of outstanding MBS.
How did you come to join HUD?
After more than 20 years in housing finance working for Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and being on the ground during the mortgage crisis seeing the impact first hand, I decided to take a look at the government. At the GSEs, I worked to ensure we implemented every remedy to help as many borrowers as possible, but I figured I could give back more through public service. When the position at Ginnie Mae became available, I knew it would be a great way to use my experience to support a great mission, and to contribute in a small way to the transformation of the nation’s housing finance system. Being part of the solution is important to me at this point in my career and public service best exemplifies this for me.
What is your typical day like?
Working as the Director of the Monitoring and Asset Management Division is dynamic, exciting and productive. No two days are ever the same. Overseeing the monitoring of a 1.5 trillion dollar MBS program is obviously no small task. My team is responsible for monitoring how Ginnie Mae issuers, servicers and document custodians are complying with our program requirements. On any given day, we are doing that monitoring or in the case of an issuer not complying, working with the issuer on appropriate remedies for the non-compliance. We are also busy with management of Ginnie Mae’s loan assets from previous issuer defaults where we had to step into the shoes of this issuer and take over the servicing of the pools. All in all, the team works in a very dynamic environment on a daily basis.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
Respect and collaboration at all levels is critical. You never know where you might end up as you move along in your career, and who you might need to support you. I have always treated others as I wish to be treated, and that approach engenders mutual respect. That is a key value for me. I believe this has always helped me build strong and effective teams. When you respect everyone and value the process of collaboration, everyone feels a part of the whole. Strong teams are productive, effective and get results.
Tell us something interesting about you that most people don’t know.
My education and early career was in the field of mental health. My background as a psychologist has always been an asset in my career – especially as a leader and manager – in helping me build strong and successful teams and also understand how individuals think and work. Leveraging individual strengths to meet objectives is critical to the success of both individuals and teams.
What’s your biggest accomplishment over the past 12 months?
The Monitoring and Asset Management team is very productive, so to point to just one accomplishment is hard. The biggest lift was probably moving $11 billion of Ginnie Mae’s portfolio from our previous Master Sub-Servicers to two new Master Sub-Servicers. On occasion, we are called upon to step into the shoes of a defaulted issuer. That means we must take possession of government loans when an Issuer has been terminated from the program. In order to protect our assets and stay true to Ginnie Mae’s responsibility of guaranteeing timely principal and interest payments to the investors, we rely on these Master Sub-Servicers to provide critical servicing and reporting functions.
But we have also spent a significant amount of time this year working on strengthening our monitoring programs given the ever increasing size of the Ginnie Mae portfolio, and as we approve new issuers and bring them into the program.
What’s next on the radar?
In early 2015 we are scheduled to roll out Ginnie Mae’s first Issuer Operational Performance Profile (IOPP). This tool is a transparent way for our issuers to understand their performance in our program in the areas of issuing, pooling, servicing and collateral management on a month-to-month basis, and compare it to the performance of their peers. This has been an interesting project for the team and represents just one way that Ginnie Mae is being responsive to our issuers and helping to ensure they are successful in our program.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next month for a new edition of A Day in the Life!
Danielle Walton is a Communications Specialist at Ginnie Mae.