Five Star’s Government Forum Gathers Government, Mortgage Servicers in D.C.

The 14th annual installment of the Five Star Government Forum, a day-long gathering of mortgage servicing leaders and government officials was recently held at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The event serves as a forum to discuss the industry’s most pressing issues, and a starting point for industry stakeholders to collaborate and develop solutions to improve the industry overall, charting the course of the housing economy for 2024 and beyond

A major force behind the 2024 Government Forum is to keep open the lines of communication between mortgage industry stakeholders and government decision-makers as they set forth the policies that will continue to support the American Dream of homeownership.

A day of education running the mortgage gamut

The day featured diverse perspectives from professionals representing all sectors of the mortgage servicing space, kicked off by Five Star Institute/Mortgage Policy Advisors (MPA) Chair Ed Delgado, welcoming attendees to D.C. and previewing the day’s agenda.

Delgado opened the event with a brief State of the Industry speech that focused on the legacy of the U.S. government’s interventions to help promote and strengthen the American system of homeownership, as well as the many headwinds currently facing the mortgage and housing industries.

“Fifty-six years have passed since the Fair Housing Act became law, and yet, for many, the opportunity to obtain and afford housing remains frozen in time,” Delgado said. “The United States is currently facing an affordable housing crisis, with millions of households struggling to find housing they can afford. Skyrocketing rents, stagnant wages, and limited affordable housing stock have exacerbated the problem, particularly in high-cost urban areas. It is time for policymakers and legislators tp recognize housing as a key component of broader social and economic development strategies for our nation.”

Delgado acknowledged that rising to meet these challenges will require “bold, innovative solutions and a coordinated effort across all levels of government — including the leadership and support of many in this room.”

Concluding his address, Delgado said, “As we confront the challenges before us, it is essential that we continue to prioritize housing as a fundamental human right and work towards creating a housing system that is fair, inclusive, and sustainable for all.”

Delgado then introduced the opening panel of the day, “Risk and Regulation: The Costs of Doing Business.” The session included Shayna Hutchins Arrington, Chief Risk Officer, Servbank as moderator. alongside Steve Bailey, Chief Servicing Officer, PennyMac Financial Services Inc.; Bryan Bolton, Chief Administrative Officer and SVP-Mortgage and Consumer Servicing, U.S. Bank; Kevin Bowen, Head of Home Lending Product and Innovation, JPMorgan Chase; LaQuanda Sain, EVP, Servicing, Rocket Mortgage; and John Vella, Chief Revenue Officer, Selene Finance. The discussion focused on how the industry is looking to minimize risk in a highly regulated environment. The panel discussed how increased regulation has reshaped the mortgage landscape since the 2008 financial crisis, leading to many nonbank servicers and depository banks stepping back from mortgages entirely.

Risk & Regulation panel
Shayna Arrington of Servbank moderates the “Risk & Regulation” panel

After a short networking break, panelists for the second general session “Economic Update: What to Expect in 2024—and Beyond” took the stage. Even with the Fed pumping the brakes on the rate hikes that have defined the past year’s housing market, many uncertainties remain. Rick Sharga, Founder & CEO, CJ Patrick, moderated, alongside economists Daren Blomquist, VP, Market Economics,; Molly Boesel, Principal Economist, CoreLogic; and Leonard Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac. They discussed key takeaways from events over the past year, and what lies ahead for the industry in the not-too-distant future. From inflation wrangling and inventory shortfalls, to recessionary fears, the panel discussed if the nation is truly headed for a “soft landing,” or if the prospect of a recession looms more than ever.

Rick Sharga moderates the “Economic Update: What to Expect in 2024—and Beyond” session

In the third general session of the day, Wes Iseley, Senior Managing Director, Carrington Holding Company, moderated a panel featuring Benjamin Gottheim, VP-Servicing Policy, Freddie Mac and John Thibaudeau, VP, Single-Family Real Estate, Fannie Mae. The trio broke down their respective strategic visions, missions, and the pivotal roles the GSEs play in shaping the mortgage landscape. They entertained a range of topics, from innovation and tech advancements, to affordable and sustainable homeownership, to the shape and importance of the secondary mortgage marketplace.

Wes Iseley hosts Benjamin Gottheim of Freddie Mac and John Thibaudeau of Fannie Mae during the “GSE Update: Critical Goals and Objectives” session

Hearing first-hand from the government

One of the major highlights of the afternoon was the “Fireside Chat With Ginnie Mae’s Sam I. Valverde.” Ed Delgado returned to the stage to sit with Ginnie Mae’s Principal EVP, who, just days after the Government Forum, was named Acting President of Ginnie Mae after current President Alanna McCargo announced her resignation.

Valverde began his tenure at Ginnie Mae in March 2022 as EVP and COO, and in January 2023, was appointed to serve as Principal EVP. He brings more than 15 years of housing finance, policy, and legal experience to Ginnie Mae. Across his career in public service, he has worked to develop market-based solutions to improve economic outcomes for all Americans. Prior to joining Ginnie Mae, Valverde was Supervisory Attorney Advisor at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in the Division of Conservatorship Oversight and Readiness where he led agency-wide projects intended to support greater access to mortgage credit and affordable rental opportunities for working families. In addition, Valverde led successful efforts to transition Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) away from utilizing LIBOR for a range of variable rate product offerings. He also coordinated efforts to develop a post-conservatorship regulatory framework for the GSEs and provided technical assistance on a variety of housing finance legislation.

Ed Delgado sits down with Sam Valverde of Ginnie Mae during the Five Star Institute’s Fireside Chat

Among the topics Delgado and Valverde tackled were Ginnie Mae’s current priorities and initiatives, including counterparty liquidity, sustainable investment, and risk management and cybersecurity in the housing finance space, as well as more personal stories of Valverde’s career and how it led him to his current role at Ginnie Mae.

Government insight into the housing space

The informative Fireside Chat gave way to more general sessions, as the fourth session of the day, “Underpinning the American Dream: Government Housing Perspectives,” featured government representatives from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Ginnie Mae, and VA sharing inside insights on how they are working with banks and servicers to support and empower the American system of homeownership. Tim Rood, Head of Government & Industry Relations, SitusAMC, shared the stage with John Bell III, Executive Director, Loan Guaranty Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Leslie Meaux Pordzik, SVP for the Office of Issuer and Portfolio Management, Ginnie Mae; and Prasant Sar, Head of Servicing Policy and Asset Management, FHFA, as the group discussed the trends that lie ahead, headwinds that must be addressed, and the programs they are most proud to spotlight.

Underpinning American Dream
Tim Rood of Impact Capitol moderates the “Underpinning the American Dream” panel, with speakers from VA and Ginnie Mae and FHFA

And in the final session of the day, “The State of Mortgage Servicing,” a panel of experts described how resilient the industry has been in the face of unpredicted twists and turns encountered over the past few years. But as modern servicing continues to face no shortage of challenges, the panel of experts, including George Lane, Chief Legal Officer,; Danielle Lang, Senior Director, Servicing Credit Policy and Product Development, Rocket Mortgage; Michael Greenbaum, COO, Safeguard Properties; Michael Keaton, SVP of Subservicing Business Development, PHH Mortgage; Michael Merritt, SVP Customer Care & Default, BOK Financial; and Candace Russell, VP of Post-Sale Activities, Default Servicing, Carrington Mortgage Services LLC, tackled topics such as labor risks, the impact and implications of AI, housing supply imbalances, and default forecasts, among others in their session to close out the event.

State of Mortgage Servicing
Candace Russell of Carrington moderates the “State of Mortgage Servicing” panel to close out the day.

That’s a wrap

The 2024 Five Star Government Forum concluded with a Networking Reception, sponsored by The event provided the opportunity for attendees to chat and network with their industry peers, and meet and greet the panelists featured throughout the day. Five Star’s Government Forum provides the chance to speak with industry regulators and C-suite execs all under one roof, as many of those in attendance were able to further expand their industry knowledge and toolkit in order to survive and thrive in today’s mortgage landscape.

Below are just a few anonymous comments about this year’s Government Forum, as submitted via the post-event survey:

  • “The panelists did a great job with the current content and updating us as to the new programs coming our way.”
  • “I really enjoyed hearing first hand from the GSEs. The content was good/relevant, [with] knowledgeable panelists/guests.”
  • “The servicer panel was the best interaction I have seen.”
  • “It will be hard to improve upon this event. It was nice to see diversity in the moderators/speakers as well. The mix of perspectives and insights was excellent.”
  • “[I loved] the high level of speakers and attendees. The people there were decision-makers.”
  • “Always top-notch; best industry day of the year.”

Industry support

Many thanks to the following event sponsors for their dedication and support of 2024 Five Star Government Forum, including:

Host Sponsor

Partner Sponsors

National General Lender Services

Safeguard Properties

Corporate Sponsors

Guardian Asset Management

Selene Finance

VRM Mortgage Services

Media Sponsor


Plans are underway for next year’s Five Star Government Forum. Stay tuned to as news breaks on plans and details of the event, or learn more about Five Star’s other events by clicking over to

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Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 25-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, most recently serving as Editor-in-Chief for National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books, and has served as Copy Editor for
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