WaMu Hires Citi Veteran to Lead Home Loan Unit

Washington Mutual has hired a CitiMortgage veteran to head its home loan unit.

David Schneider, previously president and COO of St. Louis-based CitiMortgage, has been named president of Washington Mutual's home loan division effective Aug. 8. He will oversee the company's residential mortgage business, including its sales production team and its $730 billion mortgage servicing portfolio.

Mr. Schneider will report to WaMu's chief operating officer, Steve Rotella. Mr. Rotella has served as acting head of the home loan unit since March, when the company said it was searching for a new leader for that business.

The appointment of Mr. Schneider caps WaMu's reorganization of the mortgage unit, which included the appointments of Tony Meola to head loan production and Taj Bindra to head risk management and loan servicing.

Mr. Rotella said in WaMu's announcement that Mr. Schneider has a proven track record of success in growing a national home lending business, as well as experience with cross-selling home loans across a retail banking network and other distribution channels.

In addition, Mr. Rotella highlighted Mr. Schneider's experience with the integration of businesses that were acquired by CitiMortgage during his tenure at the firm, when Citi bought First Nationwide and Principal Residential. Both firms had large mortgage servicing portfolios in addition to extensive loan origination businesses.

That experience gives him insight into the challenge of leveraging operations, technology and cross-sales strengths, Mr. Rotella said.

"It's particularly great for us to get someone who has experience in other parts of banking and financial services," he said in an interview with Mortgage Servicing News. "He's got a particular track record in leveraging home loan business into other distribution channels, particularly bank branches."

Mr. Rotella noted that WaMu is adding 250 bank branches to its already extensive retail footprint this year.

Mr. Schneider, 39, has previously served as executive vice president of retail banking for Old Kent Financial Corp., a Michigan-based commercial bank that was acquired by Fifth Third Bancorp in 2001. He also spent a year working as a managing partner at Stratmor Group, a mortgage industry consulting and investment banking firm.

Mr. Schneider currently is president of the Consumer Mortgage Coalition and is a member of the Housing Policy Council's executive committee.

Mr. Rotella said the appointment of Mr. Schneider means that WaMu now has assembled "one of the deepest and most talented" management teams in the mortgage industry.

"These are folks who not only know the business and can drive it forward, but are well known in the industry," he said.

"I think we have one of the best home loan organizations in the country. We also think we have the best sales force in the industry, pound for pound."

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