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Residential Department: Q&A: Christina K. Boyle, Freddie Mac: June 2017

 

Q&A: Christina K. Boyle, Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac helps move the mortgage industry into the future

In 2016, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchased more than $900 billion of residential mortgage loans, about half of all loan dollars originated last year. Freddie Mac alone purchased nearly 1.7 million loans worth almost $400 billion. With this amount of buying power, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) can have quite an impact on the housing market and how originators operate. We spoke with Chris Boyle, a senior vice president at Freddie Mac, to find out what the GSE is planning and how it views its role in the secondary mortgage market.

How would you describe the state of the secondary mortgage market?

There are lots of exciting things going on in the secondary mortgage market. I would characterize it as a modernization of all the processes in this industry. We’re bringing a lot of automation to the table. We’re making the process of homeownership more transparent and less costly for all the participants involved, and that includes consumers and lenders.

What is business like for Freddie Mac after nine years in conservatorship?

Business is very good for Freddie Mac. We think we’re addressing the changing needs of consumers and helping to build a better housing-finance system. What’s important as well is that we’re using big-data and advanced analytics — transformational technology — to reimagine and rethink the complexity of the mortgage process. Customers are going to have a better overall experience, and conservatorship has allowed us to focus on that and on being a commercial company. … We’ve shifted our focus at Freddie Mac. It’s much more competitive and much more-consumer focused. 

Many believe the credit box is too tight. Would Freddie Mac encourage lenders to loosen their standards?

We think there is a very robust credit box out there now. The full scope of our credit terms that we offer, we think, serve this market well and responsibly. We spend a lot of time encouraging lenders and [providing] education and information about what’s available to them so they can take full advantage of our offerings.

At the end of the day, it’s not going to be a stretching of the credit box; I think the credit box is there. It’s about our utilizing it and optimizing what’s there for the benefit of borrowers.

With origination costs skyrocketing, what can Freddie Mac do to help lenders cut costs?

This has been a huge topic of conversation. The cost of producing a mortgage loan has gone up significantly. Modernizing and improving the secondary mortgage market is the role that we’re going to play. We need to make it easier for lenders to originate and sell loans to us in the secondary market, and we can help them to reduce costs. To do this, we’re working with lenders to understand business processes and to understand the role that we play. And then we’re turning to big data and advanced analytics to further automate and speed up the decisionmaking process.

Can you provide some examples?

Automated collateral evaluation is one option coming out, as part of Loan Product Advisor, our next-generation automated underwriting system, which will provide an automated review of property valuation, eliminating steps, [and] that will speed up this process and reduce lenders’ cost to originate. You’ll also see us very shortly come forward with automated income and asset validation. Automating these processes will save the originator time, it will align data accuracy with Freddie Mac and our lenders, and it will make the whole experience better for the consumers that they’re serving.

What about programs to encourage millennials to enter the housing market?

We are spending some time with employers who are hiring new graduates with student debt, and they’re providing interesting ways to address this debt that their employees carry. They’re doing things like sign-on bonuses and loyalty bonuses — retention programs that are addressing some of these issues or helping these millennials to face the financial obligations they have. We’re working with a lot of these employers to determine how we can acknowledge these programs, and factor them into how we assess them when millennials apply for mortgages.

Chris Boyle is senior vice president and head of sales and relationship management for Freddie Mac’s single-family business. In this capacity, she has responsibility for sourcing loans for Freddie Mac’s single-family guarantee business from accounts at the national, regional and local levels. She also oversees all customer-engagement activities. A mortgage industry veteran, Boyle joined Freddie Mac in 1990 and went on to hold a variety of leadership roles in the client-management area.



 

Will McDermott is managing editor for Ask a Lender. Reach him at willm@scotsmanguide.com or (800) 297-6061.

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