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June 29, 2020

Leading Freddie Mac's Front Lines

When Adam examines the number and types of calls his team receives every month, he sees more than numbers. He sees the lives behind the numbers. "There was a time when I wanted to be a psychologist," he says. "I've always tried to understand people and what motivates them."

Adam has been on the front lines helping distressed borrowers with their loan issues for over a decade. In his first few years at Freddie Mac, whether he was reviewing borrower eligibility documents, assisting borrowers with loan modifications or helping people with options to exit homeownership gracefully, Adam was always working directly with homeowners to help make their days a little brighter.

Today, Adam is the director of Freddie Mac's Consumer Assistance Network (CAN), the call center designed to assist borrowers with challenges they're facing with homeownership.

When COVID-19 started to spread in the U.S., causing businesses to shut down and leaving many people without steady incomes, Adam's team became a crucial resource for homeowners across the country. In mid-March, CAN saw a significant spike in call volume, receiving close to 1,200 inquiries related solely to COVID-19.

"A homeowner's first call should always be to their loan servicer who is best suited to help them," says Adam. "But particularly during times of crisis, it's all hands on deck and we're all working toward the same goal of getting homeowners the information and assistance they need."

To help his team handle the increase in call volume — while working from home with kids out of school — Adam made some scheduling changes and role adjustments.

"My team is experienced and was up for the challenge. They know how to be flexible," he said. "There is a morning shift and a later shift, and, in some cases, the agents work two shifts. We've also benefitted from other people at Freddie Mac who volunteered to pitch in with calls."

But it isn't just COVID-19 that has led to an increase in CAN call volume. A companywide focus on consumer outreach has led to Freddie Mac helping borrowers directly more so than ever before.

"Over the years the company has expanded its outreach to borrowers, including partnering with other industry stakeholders at education events and creating My Home by Freddie Mac®, our external website full of helpful information on homeownership. So, Freddie Mac has many touchpoints for supporting and helping homeowners and we are better known by the general public today."

During especially busy times, Adam reminds his team to remain compassionate. "After they speak with someone, they need to ‘reset themselves,'" he says, "so they can hold the next conversation with a fresh set of ears. In this job, it's important not to become desensitized to people's pain. Borrowers have a story to tell. We need to be good listeners."

Working directly with homeowners requires patience and empathy – two of Adam's standout traits and two reasons why he's the perfect fit to lead the call center.

"Adam's pride in his work comes from a place of deep caring," says his manager Jo. "I believe passion is a very important trait, not only in our personal lives, but in the workplace, as well. Adam brings his passion to work every day."

"You never know what kind of hardship experience a borrower is bringing to the conversation," says Adam. "These are individuals who have their own unique stories. I'm very fortunate to work at a company that has a direct impact on people's lives."

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