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Industry News

Mudd pledges to change Fannie Mae's culture

June 6, 2005

Former interim CEO, now permanent, will hire ethics officer

Inman News

Daniel H. Mudd, the new chief executive of housing finance giant Fannie Mae, pledged yesterday to change the company's culture in the wake of last year's accounting scandal, the Washington Post reported.

Mudd, who became interim chief executive almost six months ago, also said he would set the hiring of a corporate ethics officer as one of his top priorities, the Post reported.

Mudd held a town hall meeting with more than 1,000 of Fannie's approximately 5,000 employees and spoke with investment analysts on a conference call yesterday, reports said.

In the call, Mudd told analysts that Fannie would be successful again when it "regained the trust" of its investors and customers and had become "an institution you can feel confident and comfortable investing in," according to reports. Missed the May 31 deadline? Real Estate Connect (July 27-29) discount registration extended to June 3. REGISTER NOW.

To that end, Mudd reportedly said, one of his immediate priorities is to hire a chief ethics and compliance officer – a position required by Fannie's main regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, in a March agreement outlining steps the company needed to take to address accounting and management problems.

Fannie Mae in December 2004 replaced Franklin Raines, its chairman and CEO, who announced he was taking early retirement, and Fannie Mae's chief financial officer, Timothy Howard, resigned Dec. 21. The two left in the wake of an SEC directive to make accounting corrections that could knock out some $9 billion of Fannie Mae's past profit.

Mudd became interim CEO at that time. Fannie's board voted Wednesday to let him stay on.

Legislation is currently in progress to create a new regulator for Fannie Mae and its fellow government-sponsored enterprise, Freddie Mac. The legislation passed in committee last week, a move applauded by both Fannie Mae and the American Bankers Association.

Mudd said he wants to establish four priorities for employees, including accountability and "an attitude of service" toward Fannie's customers and investors, according to reports

Copyright 2005 Inman News

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