On August 8, the Terwilliger Center hosted Ginnie Mae’s President Alanna McCargo for a fireside chat with Center Executive Director Dennis Shea. Ginnie Mae, more formally known as the Government National Mortgage Association, plays a critical role in the U.S. housing finance system, providing a full faith and credit guaranty for nearly $2.5 trillion in securities consisting of mortgages insured by the federal government. McCargo discussed Ginnie Mae’s role in expanding homeownership to low- and moderate-income households, her thoughts on the biggest challenges currently facing the housing finance industry, and how she envisions the agency evolving in the future. A transcript of the event is available here.
To set the stage, McCargo gave an overview of Ginnie Mae’s mission, highlighting the work the agency does to back government mortgages to low- and moderate-income populations and other underserved communities including veterans, Native Americans, and those living in rural areas.
She discussed her primary areas of focus so far in her two years as president of Ginnie Mae, including managing risks associated with the shift in the underlying issuer base of Ginnie Mae from banks to independent mortgage bankers and non-banking entities. She also spoke about her experience leading the agency out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to expand access to the agency’s platform for smaller lenders like community development finance agencies and credit unions.
McCargo highlighted how closing the racial homeownership gap has been a priority for the Biden administration. She explained how Ginnie Mae, by supporting the majority of first-time homebuyers across the country, is advancing that goal.
Before concluding, the discussion turned to the future of the housing finance industry broadly and Ginnie Mae specifically. McCargo highlighted the agency’s transition to the cloud and its improved access to data as vital advancements that have allowed the agency to continue to expand its reach and ensure its long-term success. She also discussed the way that tracking additional data has allowed Ginnie Mae to generate new interest from ESG-conscious funds. She emphasized that Ginnie Mae has not changed how it performs its functions, stating that at its heart the agency has always been a social enterprise but now is able to provide more detailed information to investors.
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