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Meet the Experts

 

Capital Policy

 

Scott L. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Director for Capital Policy

Smith supervises a research team focused on developing new risk based capital requirements for credit, market, and operational risk that will be applicable to the Federal Home Loan Banks and any successors to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Recently, he has co-authored papers that present a methodology to implement a countercyclical capital regime applicable to credit risk for mortgage assets.  Previously, he worked on capital and mortgage purchase program issues for both the Federal Housing Finance Board and Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, predecessor agencies to FHFA.   He began government service at GAO working on a wide variety of issues.  He has also taught economics at Arizona State, George Mason and Johns Hopkins Universities.  He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia.

 

Debra Fuller, ABD, Principal Financial Engineer/Economist

Fuller is a  responsible for managing research projects from data collection, validation and loading into QRM, 3rd party vendor behavioral model and term structure and other assumptions set-up and validation, resolution of IT/vendor issues, including debugging and RAM and disk space issues, and validation and analysis of vendor and proprietary FHFA model results.  Debra also is responsible for documentation of aforementioned processes and writing of white papers and presentations.  She has expertise in SAS, default/prepayment modeling, market risk, credit risk, and project management.  Published work includes “Economic Impact Analysis of the Port of Tampa,” USDA white papers, FHFA Risk-based Capital Rule and an FHFA Countercyclical working paper.  She has earned a BA International Relations/Spanish (University of South Florida), MS Economics (University of Florida), and was a Ph.D. Candidate ABD (University of Miami).  Several FHFA awards, including the Director’s Award for work on principal forgiveness.

 

Alex N. Bogin, Ph.D., Senior Economist

Bogin is responsible for developing historically-based shocks to several key market risk factors including interest rates, implied volatility, and option-adjusted spreads.  These risk factor shocks will be incorporated into a proposed revision to the market risk based capital rule for the Federal Home Loan Banks.  Alex has expertise in urban economics, applied econometrics, and financial modeling.  Recent publications include “Generating Historically-Based Stress Scenarios Using Parsimonious Factorization” 2013; “No Base Left Behind: The Impact of Military Base Closures on Educational Expenditures and Outcomes” 2013; and “Winning Pays: High School Football Championships and Property Values” 2013.  Alex joined FHFA in 2012 after graduating from Syracuse University with a Ph.D. in Economics.

 

Nataliya Y. Polkovnichenko, Ph.D., Senior Economist

Polkovnichenko conducts research on the effects of new capital requirements as applicable to the Federal Home Loan Banks. Recently she has been involved in the research project analyzing the effect of any regional aggregation bias in applying House Price Index shocks to countercyclical stress tests used to set credit risk based capital requirements.  She has also worked on estimating prepayment model error, which is one of the potential inputs in the new risk based capital requirements for market risk.  Before joining FHFA, she was a finance instructor at the University of Minnesota and a senior lecturer in finance at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Nataliya received a Ph.D. in Business Administration with specialization in finance from the University of Minnesota and an MS degree in mathematics and mechanics from Moscow State University.

 

Jesse Weiher, Ph.D., Senior Economist

Weiher is responsible for developing the HPI, interest rate, and unemployment rate scenarios for the countercyclical capital regime as well as developing changes to the credit risk capital requirements for the Federal Home Loan Banks.  His research areas are price indexes, credit risk, and econometrics.  His publications include “Countercyclical Capital Regime: A Proposed Design and Empirical Evaluation” 2012; “Revisions to FHFA’s House Price Index in the Recent National House Price Boom and Bust” 2010; “A Brief Examination of Previous House Price Declines” 2009; “A Hedonic Index Price Index for Airline Travel” 2008; “Accounting for Loss Contingencies: The FDIC’s Policies and Practices 1992-2004” 2007; and “Market Power in the US Airline Industry” 2002.  Jesse Weiher has a PhD in Economics from Rice University and a BS in Mathematics from the University of Houston.  He has received two FHFA Director’s Excellence awards—one for work on the GSEs loan loss reserving practices which was a factor in the decision to place the GSEs into conservatorship and another for his work on the countercyclical capital project.

 

Stephen D. Bruestle, Ph.D., Economist

Bruestle recently received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia, where he received the Bankard Fund for Political Economy Pre-dissertation Fellowship (2011) and the Snavely Award for Best Dissertation Proposal (Fall 2010).  He has presented papers at the Fifth Annual Economics of Advertising and Marketing Conference (Beijing, 2012), the 34th ISMS Marketing Science Conference (Boston, 2012), and the Southern Economics Association 80th Annual Conference (Atlanta, 2010).

 

Will Doerner, Ph.D., Economist

Doerner joined the Federal Housing Finance Agency in 2012.  His housing background began working in the field at a local property assessor’s office then later expanded to research and consulting about housing markets across Florida. Will earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University in 2012.  He also holds an M.S. in Economics.  He earned his B.S. in Mathematics-Economics and Urban Studies at Furman University in 2004.  He published several articles: “House Prices and Local Government Revenues" (with K. Ihlanfeldt) in Regional Science and Urban Economics (2011) and “City Government Structure: Are Some Institutions Undersupplied?" (with  K. Ihlanfeldt) in Public Choice (2011). Previously, he worked on the FHFA House Price Index.

 

Chi-Cheol Chung, Financial Analyst

Chung supports testing and modeling new risk based capital requirements using Quantitative Risk Management (QRM), a third party vendor system designed for enterprise risk management.  Prior to FHFA, he worked at various organizations including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Barclays, focusing on fixed income capital markets and market risk management.  He received a business degree from the University of Virginia with concentration of finance, economics and marketing.

 

Housing Finance Research & Analysis

 

Nayantara Hensel, Ph.D., Associate Director of Policy Research

Hensel received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and specialized in finance and economics.  She previously served as the Chief Economist for the Department of the Navy where she provided economic guidance on the defense industry and defense industrial base, housing, commodities and strategic materials, exchange rates, unemployment, interest rates, etc. Dr. Hensel was awarded the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Medal in 2013 by the Department of Defense.  She has served as the Pentagon Scholar in Residence, and as Professor of Industry and Business at National Defense University.  She was extensively involved in various aspects of the Undersecretary of Defense (AT&L)’s Better Buying Power Initiative and led several of the sub-initiatives.  She also served on the faculty of the Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU), and the US Naval Postgraduate School, as well as taught at Harvard University.  In the private sector, Dr. Hensel previously served as Senior Manager and Chief Economist for Ernst & Young’s litigation advisory group, managing economist for the New York City office of the Law and Economics Consulting Group (LECG), and an economist in the economic consulting arm of Marsh & McLennan.  Dr. Hensel has written over 50 articles and research reports.  She has published in journals such as the International Journal of Managerial Finance, the Review of Financial Economics, Business Economics, the European Financial Management Journal, the Journal of Financial Transformation, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, etc.  She has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Business Economists (NABE) and the National Economists Club (NEC) and has served as the Chair of the NABE Industry Survey and the Chair of the NABE Outlook Survey.  Dr. Hensel is an elected member of NBEIC and of the Conference of Business Economists, both of which are composed of the top economists in the US, and is a member of the Harvard Industrial Economists Group.  Dr. Hensel has given seminars at a number of institutions and has appeared on CNBC, PBS, Fox Business TV, Voice of America, and Reuters TV, as well as has conducted a variety of radio interviews on ABC, CBS, NPR, Wall Street Journal Radio, Bloomberg Radio, AP, etc.

 

Andrew Leventis, Ph.D., Principal Economist

Since completing his Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1998, Leventis has worked as an empirical microeconomist.  He began his career in litigation consulting, assisting in the preparation of expert reports on antitrust matters and contract disputes.  Over the last nine years, he has served as an economist at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, where he has had production and development responsibilities associated with the House Price Index (HPI), a widely-used series of indexes showing real estate price trends in the U.S., Census Divisions, states, and metropolitan areas.   He closely monitors market conditions, both as measured in the HPI as well as in other major house price metrics.  In addition to publishing articles that have reconciled the FHFA and S&P/Case-Shiller home price metrics, he has also released reports analyzing appraisal bias, the effects of home quality improvements on price indexes, and heterogeneity in price trends by financing type.  His most recent research has been aimed at quantifying the influence of foreclosures and distressed sales on house price measures.  He is also conducting research on the impact of second mortgages on the performance of first liens and on household financial outcomes.

 

Paul Manchester, Ph.D., Principal Economist

Manchester has been the lead staff person for the preparation of FHFA's Annual Housing Reports, submitted to Congress in October each year.  He has also been the lead on the preparation of FHFA's annual housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and has worked on matters related to mission regulation of the Federal Home Loan Banks.  Previously he served as Director of the Financial Institutions Regulations Division in the Office of Policy Development and Research at HUD, and prior to that he worked at the Office of Thrift Supervision.  Paul has a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota.  Following receipt of his Ph.D., he taught economics at Mary Washington College and the Catholic University of America, and subsequently worked as a senior economist with the Joint Economic Committee of Congress for eleven years.


Saty Patrabansh, M.P.P., Senior Economist

Patrabansh specializes in researching mortgage origination and refinancing; mortgage delinquency, foreclosure and property disposition; and foreclosure prevention and homeownership retention.  He has been at FHFA since 2011 and has worked on policies related to HARP, REO disposition and non-performing loans (NPL).  He has recently performed research on the profiles of first-time homebuyers, literature on foreclosure discount, and effects of monetary policy on mortgage rates.  Prior to joining FHFA, he was a Center Co-Director and Senior Associate at Abt Associates, a government research and consulting firm.  There he specialized in rigorous program evaluation and policy research and conducted research studies on housing policy and housing finance for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including studies of the Enterprises and FHA.  He also led data and evaluation projects for HUD, the Census Bureau and Food and Nutrition Services.  He holds an MPP specializing in econometrics, finance and evaluation from the University of Chicago and a BA in mathematics and economics from Grinnell College.

 

Ken Lam, M.P.P., Senior Economist

Lam is an expert on loan default/prepayment models, mortgage underwriting standards, loan modifications, and program evaluation.  Joined FHFA three years ago, Ken has recently completed a study quantifying the relationship between down payment requirements and performance of mortgages in the FHA and GSE segments of the market.  He is currently working on a project examining the changes in underwriting regime and access to mortgage credit after the 2007/2008 financial crisis.  Prior to FHFA, Ken worked for 10+ years at the consulting firm Abt Associates, where he conducted research on Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) and FHA’s American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI), and other HUD programs. He received his M.P.P. in public policy and econometrics and his B.S in. Economics-Math, as well as his B.A. Political Science, from University of Minnesota. His recent publication on "Impacts of Down Payment Underwriting Standards on Loan Performance – Evidence from the GSEs and FHA portfolios” is an FHFA working paper which is on the FHFA website.

 

Arun Barman, M.Sc., Senior Economist

Barman joined FHFA in February 2014 from Deloitte and Touche where he provided risk analysis for Ginnie Mae.  Previously, he was a Research Economist at the National Association of Realtors.  He has also worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Brookings Institution.  He received his Bachelors degree from U.C.L.A. He also holds masters degrees from the University of Toledo and the London School of Economics.  He has several publications in Real Estate Insights, as well as with the National Association of Realtors.

 

Sam Asin, B.A., Economist

Asin graduated from Pomona College in 2012, where he majored in mathematics and PPE (philosophy, politics, and economics).  After graduating, he spent a year working at an economic litigation consulting firm supporting expert reports in litigation pertaining to the financial crisis.  He came to the FHFA July 1st, where he has been supporting the research of senior economists in OPAR.  Sam’s primary strengths are in coding, creative analyses, economic intuition, presentation of data (graphs etc.), graphic design, and mathematics.

 

National Mortgage Database

 

Robert B. Avery, Ph.D., Project Director National Mortgage Database​

Avery heads a new inter-agency effort at FHFA designed to create a comprehensive residential mortgage database to better serve supervisory and policy concerns.  He joined FHFA after retiring as a Senior Economist from Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the fall of 2012.  Previously he had held positions as a Professor at Cornell University and as an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  His work at the Federal Reserve focused on supervisory issues related to community affairs and bank supervision.  He was a coauthor of a number of studies in these areas including the Federal Reserve’s Congressional Report on Disparate impact in Credit Scoring, and Federal Reserve Bulletin articles on the 2004 through 2011 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data and revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act in 2005.  He was also one of the founders of the tri-annual Survey of Consumer Finances and designed the loan sampling systems used for the Federal Reserve’s examinations of small bank safety and soundness and for large syndicated loans.  He has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

Ian Keith, MS, Senior Program Analyst​

Keith specializes in data management and analysis using SAS® software with an emphasis on Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s single-family and multifamily mortgage loans reported towards their affordable housing goals.  He is an expert in Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, Census tract demographic data, and FHFA’s Enterprise Public Use Database.  He spent 17 years at the Department of Housing and Urban Development primarily with the Office of Policy Development and Research in the Financial Institutions Regulation Division before transferring to FHFA in 2009.  He has a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.S. in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School.​

 

Ismail Mohamed, Ph.D., Senior Economist

Mohamed joined the National Mortgage Database team from the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) where he had worked for 13 years. He has over 20 years of solid technical expertise in statistical software, applications development, data analysis, and applied economic research. During his tenure with the Office of Policy Development & Research, Mohamed supported HUD’s mission regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until that responsibility was transferred to FHFA.  Afterward, he continued as lead architect and developer in vital HUD projects including the analyses of Federal Housing Administration, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Home Affordable Modification Program, Mortgage Loan Performance, and McDash data, and the development of HUD’s Housing Scorecard. He also led HUD’s implementation of the agency-wide SAS® Enterprise Business Intelligence System that supported over 300 HUD SAS users.  Mohamed was author and coauthor in papers covering the practical implementation of time series, applications of neural networks, program planning and evaluation, and international development.  He received a M.S. from the University of Maryland, and a M.S. and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.​

 

Forrest Pafenberg, MS, Supervisory Policy Analyst

Pafenberg has more than 40 years of experience as a housing economist, specializing in mortgage finance.  Pafenberg’s areas of expertise include the structure of the primary and secondary mortgage markets, single-family and multi-family housing programs, underwriting standards, interest and credit risk, and operational risk metrics and analysis.   Prior to his current position at FHFA, Pafenberg was a Senior Policy Analyst with the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), Director of Real Estate Finance Research at the National Association of Realtors, Housing Economist at Freddie Mac, and Economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  He has a B.S. from George Mason University and a M.S. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

 

Jay Schultz, Ph.D., Senior Economist​

Schultz is part of the team developing the National Mortgage Database and is also responsible for developing projections of future single-family mortgage market affordability levels to support FHFA’s oversight of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac annual housing goals.  He joined FHFA in 2009 when the housing goal responsibility was transferred from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where he had worked in the Office of Policy Development and Research for 12 years and the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for 2 years. His work at HUD focused on developing regulations and evaluating the performance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac toward the statutorily required housing goals.   Prior to working for the Federal Government, he held the position of Chief Economist for the Missouri Department of Insurance where he headed the Statistics Section which is responsible for collecting and analyzing data on underwriting and losses paid for all lines of insurance.  His research focuses on affordable housing and mortgage market issues as well as property insurance as it relates to affordable housing and community development.  He has a B.S. in Economics from Michigan Technological University and a Ph.D. in Economics/Finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia.​

 

Claudia Wood, Ph.D., Senior Economist

Wood is a member of the project team developing the National Mortgage Database.  Prior to joining FHFA she worked at TransUnion supporting their mortgage products and analytical solutions as Director of Mortgage Analytics.  Over the course of her 20 year career, she has held various positions in credit risk modeling and analytics in the Federal government, private sector, and the secondary mortgage market agencies.  These have included positions as a senior risk examiner at FHFA; Senior Director of Risk Analysis, Pricing and Portfolio Management at Freddie Mac; and Financial Economist at Fannie Mae. Wood has extensive expertise in single-family and multifamily credit risk modeling and analytics.  She is also an experienced SAS® programmer.  Wood has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Lehigh University and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Consumer Economics and Housing. ​

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