Ginnie Mae Punished His Firm. Now, Trump May Put Him in Charge
(Bloomberg) -- A mortgage industry executive with ties to a firm penalized in a U.S. predatory lending crackdown is being considered by the Trump administration to run Ginnie Mae, a government corporation that backs $2 trillion in home-loan securities, according to people familiar with the matter.
Joseph Murin, who previously headed Ginnie Mae for about 13 months under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, is among candidates the White House is looking at to fill the post, said the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions haven’t been made public. Others have been considered for the job leading the mortgage guarantor and it’s not clear when a decision will be announced, the people said.
Murin, 70, is currently chairman emeritus of NewDay USA, one of the firms Ginnie Mae restricted last year from bonds backing Department of Veterans Affairs loans amid concerns over so-called churning, the practice of repeatedly pressuring borrowers into unnecessary refinancing. The sanctions kept firms from issuing Ginnie Mae bonds mingled with loans from other lenders, a step that made them likely to get worse prices from investors.
The penalties against NewDay were temporary and have since been lifted.
NewDay, in a statement issued late Tuesday to Bloomberg, said it never engaged in loan churning, and that Ginnie’s concerns have been addressed and fixed.
“To be clear, NewDay USA has never been accused of predatory lending,” NewDay Executive Chairman Rear Admiral Thomas C. Lynch said in the statement. “We do not repeatedly refinance borrowers. Some veterans were refinanced once to lower their rate, and no lender fees were charged for them to do so. We’ve never harmed any veteran nor churned loans, and never will.”
The temporary suspensions affecting NewDay and others came after investors raised concerns that the company’s bond repayment speeds were too high and amid a wider probe by Ginnie Mae into whether lenders had been pushing veterans into refinancing repeatedly, which can drive up borrowers’ debt while generating fees for lenders.
Murin’s industry ties extend beyond NewDay. After serving as Ginnie Mae president from 2008 to 2009, Murin co-founded the Collingwood Group, a Washington-based firm that advises firms facing legal action from the Federal Housing Administration. The firm’s clients have included Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp. Brian Montgomery, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the FHA, is also a co-founder of Collingwood Group.
Murin didn’t respond to multiple attempts to reach him by phone, email and through his LinkedIn account. The White House declined to comment.
Ginnie Mae has been run on an interim basis since January by Maren Kasper, a former Housing and Urban Development official who has also spent time in the private sector.
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