Member Spotlight

WHF is pleased to feature the WHF Member Spotlight. Each month we will feature a different WHF member.



  

WHF Member Spotlight – June 2021
Deputy General Counsel, Litigation for the Federal Housing Finance Agency

Hometown
San Francisco, California  

Fun Fact
I am a huge supporter of our public libraries and served as the Chair of the Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees.  Libraries today serve a far greater role than merely the source for print or digital reading material – they are a communal center for innovation, civic engagement, technology and literacy.

Describe your journey in the financial services industry and how your career has evolved to your current position.
My journey in the financial services industry began very far outside it!   I moved to Washington D.C. to clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Harris who had served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.  He inspired me to serve my community by joining that office, which I did after several years in private practice working in commercial litigation.  I was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 14 years, where I prosecuted drug and violent crimes, as well as arguing appeals before the local and federal appeals courts.  For my last several years in the office, I prosecuted major economic and fraud crimes, including health care fraud and cybercrime.

I became very interested in looking at how to build systems to prevent fraud and took an opportunity to move in-house.  I joined Fannie Mae to help build its Corporate Compliance and Ethics unit.  However, just a short time after I joined the company, the first of what became a very long series of investigations of the company began.  Because of my background in investigations, I moved to the litigation group where I represented the company in response to numerous inquiries, and also handled complex commercial litigations, including insurance coverage, securities class action, fair lending laws violations, foreclosure matters, and employment issues.  I particularly enjoyed working with the mortgage fraud unit to investigate mortgage fraud.  Working at Fannie Mae during the financial crises was a crash course in how a financial institution operates in stress environments, and the work in emerging from the crises a course in the importance of strong and effective regulation.  In 2013, I had the opportunity to change direction and move into private practice as a partner at the law firm of Gilbert LLP.  I represented policyholders in complex insurance coverage litigation, with particular emphasis on Directors & Officers’ liability.  

While at Fannie Mae, I had the opportunity to work closely with the General Counsel of FHFA, Alfred Pollard.  That relationship provided me with a new opportunity when Alfred suggested I consider coming back to government service and joining FHFA in the General Counsel’s office.  I came aboard in 2015 and had the opportunity to work on a number of major rules and programs including the Duty to Serve program, the capital requirements for the Enterprises, and the regulation governing new products.  Having been inside Fannie Mae at the start of the conservatorship, I felt I brought a special perspective to my work to support FHFA as conservator.  My latest opportunity arose when I was asked to become Deputy General Counsel in charge of litigation in which the Agency was involved.  Our team manages litigation ranging from the constitutional challenge to the Agency structure to single-asset disposition issues. As I write this, we are all waiting on the Supreme Court opinion in Collins v. Yellen which should be issued soon!

In many ways, I feel this position brings together the variety of skills and professional experiences I have had – government service as a prosecutor, in-house counsel to a major financial institution, private practice as a civil litigator and as a regulatory attorney.  I feel it is an honor to work for FHFA and support the important mission of the Agency. 

What do you love most about what you do?
Working with a talented and motivated team is truly a pleasure.  I am continually inspired by my colleagues both in the Office of General Counsel and in the entire agency and with each person’s dedication to the mission of the Agency.   

Hobby(ies)?
I play as much tennis as I can which kept me sane during Covid.  I learned how to play mah jonng just a few months before we all started staying at home.  Now I have a weekly online game with friends but am so looking forward to playing in person and hearing the click of the tiles.  I’m a fan of the opera, and travel to New York a few times a year to see the Metropolitan Opera.  I finally saw the entire Ring cycle in one week a few years ago at the Washington National Opera. 

How long have you been a member of WHF?
I was member while at Fannie Mae and rejoined since I’ve been at FHFA.

Please describe your involvement with WHF.
I have tried to take advantage of the wide range of speakers and webinar topics.  It is particularly interesting to me to hear from insiders at other financial regulators to hear their perspective of upcoming issues. 

How do you make the best use of your day? (think techniques to enhance productivity, time management, time out, meditation/prayer, etc.)
I’m the dog walker in my household so I am conditioned to get up and out early.  I exercise every morning (otherwise it won’t happen!).  I am big on making “to-do” lists.  I block out time on my calendar and assign the blocks to various projects both so I will some uninterrupted time and also as a time management technique to keep projects moving forward.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Even if you love them, don’t buy shoes that hurt your feet in the store. Really applies to all facets of life! But about work, if an opportunity comes your way, say yes. 

 

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April 2021 - Michael Briggs, General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Mortgage Bankers Association

March 2021 - Tara Sugiyama Potashnik, Chief of Staff and Partner, Venable LLP

February 2021 - Catherine Galicia, Chief of Staff, National Credit Union Administration

January 2021 - Amy Friend, Senior Advisor, FS Vector 

December 2020 - Keith A. Noreika, Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP 

October 2020 - Tiffani Moore, Senior Policy Analyst, Division of Housing Mission & Goals, Federal Housing Finance Agency 

September 2020 - Allyson Baker, Partner, Chair, Financial Services Practice, Venable LLP

August 2020 - Katie Wechsler, Partner, Barnett Sivon & Natter, P.C. and Of Counsel, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP.

June 2020 - Sydney Garmong, Partner in Charge of Regulatory Matters & Office Managing Partner, Crowe LLP

April 2020 - Donna Howell, SVP, Customer Success, Ampcus

March 2020 - Julia Tishman, Director, Federal Government Relations, TIAA

February 2020 - Tim McTaggart, General Counsel, Forethought Advisors LLC & Partner, McTaggart Law Office 

January 2020 - Elizabeth M. Young LaBerge, Senior Regulatory Compliance Counsel at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU)

November 2019 - Peggy Twohig, Assistant Director for Supervision Policy, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

October 2019 - Peter Judge, Manager of Government Relations, Crowe LLP

September 2019 - Kris Kully, Partner, Mayer Brown 

July 2019 - Kristin McGovern, Managing Director, Fannie Mae

June 2019 - Jenny Menna, Senior Vice President, Business Security Solutions, U.S. Bank

May 2019 - Nancy Weissgold, Partner and Co-Leader of the Consumer Finance Team, Alston & Bird, LLP

April 2019 - Chastity Abrom, Mortgage-Backed Securities Specialist, Ginnie Mae, Office of Securities Operations

March 2019 - Gisele Roget, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing, Federal Housing Administration

February 2019 - Monda Raquel Webb, Consultant, Monda Media LLC 

January 2019 - Jonice Gray Tucker, Partner, Buckley Sandler LLP 

December 2018 - Alma Angotti, Navigant, Managing Director, Co-Head of Global Investigations and Compliance

November 2018 - Michele Lieber, President, BluePoint DC

October 2018 - Dionne Joemah, Deputy General Counsel, District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development

September 2018 - Lindsey Johnson, President, U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI)

August 2018 - Bernadette Kogler, Co-founder & CEO, RiskSpan; Co-founder, SmartLink Lab

July 2018 - Lawrence Kaplan, Chair, Bank Regulatory Practice, Paul Hastings LLP

April 2018 - Dina Ellis Rochkind, Of Counsel, Paul Hastings LLP

March 2018 - Marti Tirinnanzi, President and CEO, Financial Standards, Inc.

February 2018 - Janis Smith, Board of Governors, National Housing Conference

November 2017 - Mary Pat Denney, Managing Director, Risk Initiative Vertical, The Oakleaf Group

September 2017 - Joanna Girardin Shapiro, Managing Director, Global Client Management, Bank of New York Mellon

July 2017 - Mary Martha Fortney, President, The Fortney Group

June 2017 - Kris Kully, Partner, Mayer Brown

May 2017 - Lee Ann Hoover, Financial Services Advisory and Compliance, Navigant Inc.

April 2017 - Faith Arnold Schwartz, Chairman, HLP, Principal, HFSS, LLC, Advisor to Accenture Credit Services

March 2017 - Debbie Matz, Board Member, Mutual of Omaha Bank; Advisory Board OpenDoor Trading LLP