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November 02, 2015

On the Move in the Windy City

David Leopold
Article By
David Leopold, VP Targeted Affordable Sales & Investments*

Something about Chicago — with its energy and bold, illuminated skyline — made it seem especially fitting for this year’s annual conference.  At our biggest conference to date and my first with Freddie Mac, we focused on how multifamily is growing, changing and innovating.

For my area of Targeted Affordable Housing, and the broader Workforce Housing, growth and innovation means more affordable housing for families across America. Incomes are falling and rents rising, so the need for homes people can afford is greater than ever. There’s a lot of opportunity here, and the work we do with our partners makes a real difference.

Walking around, meeting people at an event 900-strong, I felt the full strength of the Freddie Mac platform and the market’s enthusiasm for our products.

I flew in to the Windy City early to meet with a Seller and a Borrower. Before launching into larger discussions, I wanted first to get an on-the-ground of what’s happening at the deal level. Later, when I met with Seller/Servicers, we talked about the changes Multifamily has made in direct response to client needs and feedback from our Seller/Servicer Advisory Council.

It’s good to hear first-hand from our partners that things are working — and that together we’re moving in the right direction. And it’s great to get even more feedback, both positive and constructive. As a result, we will follow up with working groups to improve the predictability of turnaround time for deal quotes and commitments, and will continue to work with our partners to improve customer service. We’re looking forward to keeping up the momentum.

Record Growth, New Products

At our breakout session, Investing to Better Serve Our Clients, I introduced our new team and new products that led to record growth — production on our retail platform that’s more than 60% higher than a year ago. Two partners, from Oak Grove Capital and City Community Capital, shared the stories of deals they’ve made using our new Bridge to Resyndication and the Direct Purchase of Tax-Exempt Loan program — our most innovative products rolled out this past year.

There was a lot of enthusiasm for Targeted Affordable Housing, and I heard from many Seller/Servicers who are interested in becoming licensed for these offerings.

Getting My Second Wind in the Windy City?

While I’m not used to crashing at 1 a.m. on a “school night,” it was a fun and productive time connecting with colleagues and partners in an informal setting — whether bowling, playing mini-golf, or listening to live music. Donning a Bernie Sanders wig (hey, at least I didn’t have to wear the blond Trump one), we generated plenty of laughs as well as substantive content in our “presidential debate” at the final Management Update. Serious topics, but it was nice to show that we don’t always take ourselves too seriously.

Chicago Skyline

Here’s to next year in Miami!

More from Dave about our business and changes coming in 2016 — in a recent interview with Affordable Housing Finance.

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