WASHINGTON, DC—The Milken Institute is mobilizing efforts for the next phase of housing finance reform as policymakers work through the complexities of building a sustainable system. Today, the Institute announced a new policy team with deep expertise across the field.
Eric Kaplan, a leading voice for mortgage-backed securities reform, heads the group as director of the Institute’s Housing Finance Program within the Center for Financial Markets. Kaplan has spent nearly a quarter-century in the residential mortgage industry. He spearheaded and chairs “RMBS 3.0,” the principal industry-led mortgage-backed securitization reform task force established within the Structured Finance Industry Group, of which he is also a board member. Kaplan’s extensive experience encompasses a wide range of roles in mortgage banking, the capital markets, and structured finance law. He was most recently a managing partner with Ranieri Strategies LLC and, prior to that, a managing director of Shellpoint Partners LLC, where he built a post-crisis non-agency securitization platform.
“Washington has become the focal point of the post-crisis mortgage industry. But we need to look across the nation for ideas that work in the private and government sectors, and engage all stakeholders to help craft smart, practical solutions,” said Kaplan. “Joining the Milken Institute is an incredible opportunity to collaborate with government and industry, and move from talking about necessary reform to making it happen the right way. I am privileged to steer such a distinguished team dedicated to restoring the housing finance system to health and paving the way for its evolution.”
The Center’s bipartisan group of senior fellows (below) offers unrivaled experience in all facets of housing finance and will contribute actively to policy formation, thought leadership, education, and engagement.
- Theodore “Ted” Tozer recently completed seven years as president of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae). Before joining Ginnie Mae, Tozer spent more than 30 years in the financial services industry. He was senior vice president of capital markets at National City Mortgage Company, a member of the National Lender Advisory Boards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and chairman of the Capital Markets Committee of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.
- Michael Stegman was senior policy advisor for housing on the staff of the National Economic Council from 2015 - 2016 after serving three years as counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury for housing finance policy. As the top housing policy advisor in the White House, he coordinated administration policies on housing finance reform, access to credit, and other housing issues. He also convened the “Private Label Securitization Initiative” while at Treasury, bringing together key issuers and investors to explore hurdles to the return of a viable private label securitization market. Previously, he served as assistant secretary for policy development and research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 - 1997.
- Phillip Swagel was assistant secretary for economic policy at the Department of the Treasury from 2006 - 2009. He participated in the development and implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and advised the Secretary of the Treasury on all aspects of economic policy. He previously worked at the American Enterprise Institute, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the International Monetary Fund, and the Federal Reserve. He is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, where he teaches international economics.
The team will focus on reforms in several areas, including:
- Ideal deployment of government and private capital in support of a fair and efficient housing finance system;
- Policy, regulatory, and industry-based reforms to the housing finance system that are commercially practical and foster safety, soundness, and best practices;
- Enhancing access to affordable credit, as well as single and multifamily housing; and
- Evaluating and promoting technological innovations that improve the housing finance system
“We are bringing together a powerful combination of industry, government, and policy acumen and experience to provide leadership in thought and action in the vital effort to restore a vibrant housing market,” said Staci Warden, executive director of the Center for Financial Markets. “I am delighted to have Eric Kaplan leading this effort. He is one of the most technically proficient leaders in the industry and knows how to apply his knowledge in a common sense fashion.”
In addition, Milken Institute founder and chairman Michael Milken and mortgage finance industry pioneer Lewis S. Ranieri will co-chair a new Housing Advisory Council to advise and inform the work of the team. The council, established by the Housing Finance Program, will comprise a select group of current and former chief executives.
“Housing has been the lifeblood of my career, and it is in critical need of correction and rebalancing between where government is needed and where the private market can and should re-emerge,” said Ranieri. “Co-chairing this council along with Michael, whom I have known for more than four decades, and continuing to work closely with Eric, who has been with me for the last six years, is a very special combination for me. This is a remarkable team, mission and platform, and I have no doubt we are going to see amazing leadership and action from the Housing Finance Program.”
About the Center for Financial Markets
The Center for Financial Markets promotes financial market understanding and works to expand access to capital, strengthen – and deepen – financial markets, and develop innovative financial solutions to the most pressing global challenges.