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September 02, 2020

Two Leaders Recognized as HousingWire Insiders

Two Freddie Mac all-stars have been recognized by HousingWire for their leadership in helping Freddie Mac adapt and operate smoothly through unprecedented change this year. Congratulations to Michele Espada and Ken Burke for being named HousingWire Insiders!

HousingWire Insiders are the “go-to” team members in their companies — those their companies turn to with their most important or challenging projects — and their contributions and hard work lead to superior results.

“This year’s Insiders represent the unsung heroes of their companies; the team that, behind the scenes, kept everything on track during unprecedented times,” HousingWire Magazine Editor Kelsey Ramírez said. “This year, the need for the services of these 50 winners was greater than ever, and they rose to the challenge.”

In earning this recognition, what set Michele and Ken apart was their foresight and tenacity in keeping critical functions running smoothly as Freddie Mac transitioned to and prepared for an entirely new reality practically overnight.

Michele’s forward-thinking approach to recruiting top talent allowed her team to transition to 100% virtual hiring over one weekend in mid-March. They haven’t missed a beat, hiring and successfully onboarding hundreds of employees since then and reducing the average time to fill open positions by three business days. Michele has also been instrumental in ensuring an increasingly diverse and inclusive workforce for Freddie Mac, partnering with Thurgood Marshall, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, WayUp and others to build diverse candidate pipelines at the early career/entry level and removing bias from hiring decisions to help promote “culture add” rather than “culture fit.”

Ken created and implemented many smart strategies this year to remove pain points for servicers. Two standout initiatives, REO Reimagined and Servicing Gateway, helped servicers work faster and smarter by relieving them of extra responsibilities and providing them with more efficient tools. Ken also worked to automate several manual servicing processes, in one case reducing turn times by over 30 days and producing better data quality. When COVID-19 took the world by storm, Ken adapted quickly to support impacted homeowners. Under his leadership, Freddie Mac was able to expedite the implementation of a new relief option, COVID-19 Payment Deferral, and provide homeowners with a more affordable option to sustain homeownership during the pandemic.

As this work demonstrates, Michele and Ken have led the way this past year, laying the foundation for a world-class operating system and helping to position Freddie Mac at the forefront of the housing industry.

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