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FHFA Adds Two Key Execs

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) named Laura Thrift as Director of the Office of Congressional Affairs and Communications, and Alexei Alexandrov as Chief Economist.

Thrift has more than 15 years of experience on Capitol Hill working for senior members of the House of Representatives. Before joining FHFA, Thrift was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. Thrift previously served as Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. David Price of North Carolina. She has a M.A. in Government and a B.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University.

“Laura brings in-depth knowledge of the legislative process to FHFA,” said FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson. “Her experience will help FHFA continue to be transparent about our policies and rationale with members of Congress, stakeholders, and the press.”

Alexandrov, a Ph.D. economist, managed data scientists, economists, and machine learning scientists in e-commerce, and worked in the federal government and academia. Prior to joining FHFA, Alexandrov was the Director of Central Algorithms for Wayfair.com. He also worked as a Senior Manager at Amazon.com. Additionally, he served as a Senior Economist at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), working on mortgage regulations stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act. He started his professional career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester. Alexandrov has a Ph.D. in managerial economics and strategy from Northwestern University and a B.A. in economics from Wayne State University.

“Alexei’s past research will add to the Agency’s understanding of both firm and consumer behavior, including in financial markets,” said Thompson. “The research he will lead, using the latest techniques in econometrics and machine learning, will help inform policy decisions that allow FHFA to maintain the safety and soundness of our regulated entities, while promoting equitable access to safe, decent, and affordable housing opportunities throughout the nation.”

In addition to strengthening their executive leadership through these two new appointments, FHFA also recently named U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veteran Phyllis Fong as Acting Inspector General, overseeing audits, investigations, and other oversight activities relating to FHFA’s programs and operations.

The FHFA also recently issued housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) for 2022 to 2024, designed to ensure that the GSEs responsibly promote fair access to affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families, minority communities, rural areas, and other underserved populations. The FHFA is proposing two new single-family home purchase subgoals to replace the existing low-income areas subgoal. One new subgoal targets minority communities; the other continues to target low-income neighborhoods.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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