Thomas Leads Chicago FHLBank

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago last week named investment banker Mike Thomas as its new president and chief executive officer.

Mr. Thomas replaces mortgage partnership finance founder Alex Pollock, who resigned from the bank this past summer to become an analyst for a conservative think tank in Washington.

For almost 21 years, Mr. Thomas, 53, worked for First Chicago Corp., a money center bank. When he left First Chicago in 1994, he was chief financial officer.

He joined investment banker Lazard Freres & Co. in 1995 as a managing director and was involved in several large bank deals, including First Chicago's merger with NBD Bancorp. (Early in his career Fannie Mae chairman Franklin Raines also worked at Lazard.) Since 2001, Mr. Thomas has been a consultant.

The Secura Group aided the FHLB in its search. Industry officials said Secura, at one point in the search process, had contacted John Darr, chief executive of the Federal Home Loan Bank System's office of finance, about the job.

As head of the FHLB of Chicago, Mr. Thomas will be responsible for managing MPF, which is facing uncertain prospects. (MPF has been hit with growth caps by its regulator.)

In the second quarter, MPF volumes fell by 66% to $7.6 billion. However, the overall origination market fell by just 27%.

Allen Koranda, chairman of the Chicago bank's board, said, "Given Mike's impressive experience and demonstrated leadership abilities, the board is confident he will continue the bank's strong financial performance and create value for our member institutions."

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