Ginnie Mae may have moved closer to finding someone to coordinate its much-awaited Remics program as a former HUD counsel with Ginnie Mae connections has emerged as a leading candidate for the position.
Richard Hamecs, a mortgage industry consultant in Washington, has emerged as a front-runner for the position, according to a mortgage industry source close to Ginnie Mae.
A former HUD staffer that worked closely with the department's general counsel, Hamecs worked in the department's Fannie Mae oversight office and also dealt with Ginnie Mae issues in the early 1980s, said Cheryl Malloy, a regulatory counsel at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Malloy, who works with multifamily issues at MBA, was an associate of Hamecs at HUD and said that his knowledge of the secondary mortgage market would make him a "great" candidate for the position. She said, however, that she had no knowledge of his interest there.
During his time at HUD and MBA, Hamecs developed influential contacts on Wall Street and has been a strong proponent of Ginnie Mae, said one secondary market source whose firm requested a proposal for one of the five adviser positions Ginnie had announced. Prior to becoming a private consultant, Hamecs worked with the MBA Echo program, a computer-based informational service specializing in interest rate trends and other residential mortgage statistics, before the trade group sold off the program.
Ginnie Mae, which has held all Remic program dealings close to the vest since the Remic program was approved, would not confirm Hamecs as a candidate, nor would it disclose any of the candidates for the position. Hamecs did not return requests for comments.
While keeping information on its permanent staff positions closely held, HUD is also keeping mum on the adviser positions that will ultimately provide the infrastructure for the Remic program.
AHUD spokesman said the agency is still deciding what firms it will select as advisers. Ginnie extended the selection date for the Remic program's financial adviser to Nov. 23 from Nov. 5, but still hasn't chosen one of many Wall Street investment firms that bid for the position.
One Wall Street source said the selection date for the financial adviser was moved to Jan. 21. The other positions--accounting adviser, legal counsel, trustee and trustee counsel--may also be selected in that time frame.
Among the more prominent firms requesting proposals for those positions were: Arthur Andersen, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young and Kenneth Leventhal & Co., all New York-based accounting firms; Brown & Wood and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, both Washington-based law firms; and Prudential Securities, Chemical Securities, Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley & Co., and Kidder Peabody & Co., all Wall Street-based investment firms.
"Ginnie Mae Remics will be the single biggest thing on Wall Street in the mortgage-backed security market next year," said Prudential Securities' Adrian Katz, whose firm is actively seeking the program's financial adviser position.
While Katz is enthusiastic about the program, other potential advisers expressed concern about reaching the goals set by the Clinton administration, which call for $50 billion in Remic issuance the first fiscal year earning $146 million in guaranty fees over that span, and $730 million over five years.
"The $50 billion won't be hard to reach," said another representative from a firm seeking the financial adviser position. "There's enough pent-up demand for the product--we're salivating to get our hands on it. But we're suspicious of the money they can extract [from the guaranty fees]. They can't charge too much. They'll also have to worry about trustee and accounting fees, as well as servicing fees."