The nation's largest mortgage investor, government- sponsored Fannie Mae, named 27 new members to its National Advisory Council this week.
The panel's chairman will be Angelo Mozilo, chairman of Countrywide Funding Corp., Pasadena, Calif. It includes heavy hitters from the worlds of mortgage finance, real estate, and home building.
Being named to the council is widely seen as both an honor and an industry plum. Fannie Mae, formally the Federal National Mortgage Association, flies council members from around the country to Washington, puts them up at the tony Four Seasons Hotel, and gives them a chance to mingle with Washington movers and shakers.
The members weigh in on the day's hot issues, giving Fannie Mae access to a focus group of the agency's constituencies.
"The motive of Fannie Mae is ... to bring together a diverse group of interests that have broad experience," said a newly appointed member, James R. Irvine, president of the Conifer Group and 1995 president of the National Association of Home Builders. "The purpose is to get something done."
This year's first meeting, to be held Monday and Tuesday, will feature a panel on credit scoring, whose use in mortgage lending has stirred controversy.
Some people fear the technique will lead to discrimination against minority borrowers, but supporters say it will bring rigorous fairness to lending. Fannie Mae recently began to use credit scores as one indicator of a borrower's creditworthiness.
Federal Reserve Board Governor Lawrence Lindsey will open the credit scoring session. Other speakers at the two-day event will include Henry Cisneros, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Among new members of the council are Thomas Jacob, soon to be chairman of the combined Chase-Chemical mortgage company; W. Roger Haughton, chief executive of PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., San Francisco; and the 1996 president-elect of the National Association of Realtors, Russell K. Booth of Mansell Commercial Real Estate Services, Midvale, Utah.
Several members said they bring real-world perspectives from their differing jobs and hope to put their concerns on the council's agenda.
Mr. Booth said he was interested in how mortgage technology, including Fannie Mae's origination and underwriting systems, could make home loans cheaper and quicker for consumers.
Another real estate executive named to the panel, Ed Albers, 1995 president of the California Association of Realtors, said he thinks Fannie Mae should provide some technology to Realtors and help them play a bigger role in financing home purchases.
Mr. Irvine of the home builders group said he wants to see a discussion of removing rules that make it more expensive and time consuming to build homes.
Another new member, Wayne-Kent A. Bradshaw, chief executive of Family Savings Bank in South Central Los Angeles, said he plans to tell agency executives what does and doesn't work in affordable-housing lending.
On credit scoring, for example, Mr. Bradshaw said he would tell the panel that scoring is "very good at dealing with fairly pristine credit backgrounds, (but) doesn't have the flexibility that I would like for the kind of imperfect credits that we have to deal with."