Housing News

Why Murin is Better Off

The main man is heading to a private company

With no official announcement as of this writing, Joseph Murin, president of the Government National Mortgage Association, is stepping down. That’s after only 13 months of working with Ginnie Mae.

So who would want to work in this kind of business? Apparently, only a few people would qualify and fewer would last. The only office that offers mortgage-backed securities, which are guaranteed by the government, Ginnie Mae saw its market share greatly reduced in 2006 when the Federal Housing Administration had its structural adjustments. The FHA is one of the government agencies that issue these loans. This year, however, demand for their loans surged with homeowners seeking less risky borrowing.

But the head position is always plagued by controversy. Former president Robert Couch tried to pursue a number of reforms in the industry, after spending two years as chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Following his term at Ginnie Mae in 2006, he transferred to the Department of Housing and Urban Development as a general counsel.

Murin has stayed months longer than Couch but he is “rumored” to be heading to a private firm like what his Fannie Mae counterpart David Moffett did last March. I am still wondering if he fulfilled his promise when he announced during his confirmation, “… This is a critical time in the housing industry. It is clear that the market needs safety and security, and that is exactly what Ginnie Mae offers—reliable mortgage securitization products that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. As president, I will make sure Ginnie Mae works hard to bring stability back to the industry.”

Anyway, we’re sensing that this resignation is going to cure his headache. Bloomberg reasons “… Ginnie Mae, long overshadowed by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has seen its business almost double in the past two years as a lack of financing options pushes borrowers into government loan programs. The new business has brought more risk because Federal Housing Administration loans, the main collateral for Ginnie Mae securities, have lower credit-score and down-payment requirements than private-label loans.”

We’re guessing, however, that Murin cannot enforce his decisions independently. That’s what most private-to-public office managers have to deal with during their career transition. It’s where they succumb to the pressures of their work.

So go back to private practice Mr. Murin. It’s where you’ll manage better.

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