Ted Tozer joins new Milken Institute housing finance policy team

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Former Ginnie Mae President Ted Tozer, securitization pioneer Lewis Ranieri and other private and public sector leaders are forming a new housing finance policy team at The Milken Institute.

Eric Kaplan, the longtime chair of a private-label mortgage securitization reform task force, will lead the team. Other members include Michael Stegman, a former counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, and Phillip Swagel, an assistant secretary for economic policy at the Department of the Treasury.

Both former Treasury officials have been active in post-crisis housing-finance reform policy research and Kaplan previously worked for Ranieri Strategies. The current acting president of Ginnie Mae, Michael Bright, previously worked for the institute and PennyMac, an issuer Tozer now sits on the board of.

Bright and the former acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Edward DeMarco, had previously led policy efforts at the institute, but both recently have move on to new positions. DeMarco currently leads the Financial Services Roundtable's housing policy council.

Tozer, Stegman and Swagel are former Obama administration officials who have supported the preservation of a government-backed secondary market and affordable mortgage credit.

However, the composition of the group and the absence of members with government-sponsored enterprise backgrounds suggest its members could favor reform that decreases Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's influence in the market in favor of private-label and government mortgage securitization activity.

Smaller lenders have been concerned a housing reform model that diminishes Fannie and Freddie's role could increase the secondary mortgage market's influence at originators' expense.

"We're concerned about anything that would give vertically integrated investment banks more power in the primary mortgage market," said Scott Olson, executive director of the Community Home Lenders Association.

While the new group has not yet released a specific housing reform proposal, its broad focus will likely be in line with Kaplan's past focus on increased private-label securitization activity that retains some of the existing system's protections, said Geoffrey Baum, the institute's director of media relations.

"Washington has become the focal point of the post-crisis mortgage industry. But we need to look across the nation for ideas that work in the private and government sectors, and engage all stakeholders to help craft smart, practical solutions," said Kaplan in a press release.

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Housing finance reform GSE reform Secondary market GSEs Private-label FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Washington DC