MATH Briefing - 3rd Quarter 2016: A Secure Financial Future for All Americans: Modernizing Our Broken System of Housing

September 27, 2016

12:15pm - 12:15pm

MATH (Markets And The Hill) Briefing Series
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
By invitation only


Owning a home is a defining aspect of the American Dream for most Americans. Access to affordable housing – both ownership and rental – is critical to a vibrant middle class. Yet eight years after the mortgage meltdown, America’s housing system remains broken. Structural flaws plague the system, which serves neither taxpayers nor homeowners properly. Reform is required to enable a system more able to assist all Americans in gaining access to housing in a responsible way. This briefing will examine methods to reform the secondary mortgage market structure, enabling capital markets to operate efficiently and transparently. Policies for aligning incentives across the mortgage ecosystem will be addressed, including replacing the failed GSE structure with a mix of market mechanisms as well as appropriate government standard setting and oversight to ensure a deep and liquid market.


Sumit Agarwal is professor of finance at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Previously, he was the vice-dean of research and the Low Tuck Kwong professor at the School of Business and a professor in the departments of Economics, Finance and Real Estate at the National University of Singapore. Before that he was a senior financial economist in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and prior to joining the Chicago Fed, he was a senior vice president and credit risk management executive in the Small Business Risk Solutions Group of Bank of America. Sumit’s research interests include issues relating to financial institutions, household finance, behavioral finance, international finance, real estate markets and capital markets. Additionally, he has co-edited a collected volume on Household Credit Usage: Personal Debt and Mortgages. He also runs a blog on household financial decision making called Smart Finance.

Michael Bright is a director at the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets (CFM), where he leads the housing program. In addition to housing finance, Bright works on issues related to international and domestic financial market regulation and policy. Prior to joining the Institute, Bright worked at PennyMac, an innovative mortgage finance firm founded in the wake of the housing crisis. Earlier, he was with the asset management company BlackRock. Bright worked in the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, for four years. He advised on a range of Senate Banking Committee issues, including monetary policy, Dodd-Frank Act implementation, global market liquidity, U.S.-Chinese economic relations and housing finance. He was the principal author of S.1217, the "Corker-Warner" GSE reform bill that passed the Banking Committee in 2014 and helps guide Federal Housing Finance Agency policy. Bright also spent two years in large bank supervision at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Prior to coming to Washington, Bright spent six years as an interest rate derivatives trader and market-maker for both Wachovia Bank and Countrywide Financial. He holds a B.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. in the same discipline from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Ed DeMarco is a senior fellow in residence at the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets, where he researches issues involving housing finance, housing policy and financial institution regulation. He is a widely sought expert and frequent public speaker on housing finance. In 2015 he was a visiting professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. From 2009 to 2014, DeMarco served as acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and regulator of those companies and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Previously, DeMarco was chief operating officer and senior deputy director of the FHFA and its predecessor agency from 2006 to 2009. DeMarco’s federal service also included the Social Security Administration (2003 to 2006), where he was assistant deputy commissioner for policy; the Treasury Department (1994 to 2003), where he was director of the Office of Financial Institutions Policy; and the General Accounting Office (1986 to 1994). He received a B.A. in economics from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland.

Julia Gordon is the executive vice president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, a non-profit organization that aims to restore vacant and abandoned properties to productive use and protect neighborhoods from blight. As a national expert on housing finance, mortgage, and foreclosure issues, Gordon drives NCST's policy work, which focuses on federal, state and local policies related to neighborhood stabilization, blight and foreclosure prevention. She also oversees the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative, a program that provides local community development organizations with a “first look” opportunity to acquire Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac REO properties in 18 different cities. Prior to joining NCST, Gordon served as the Senior Director of Housing and Consumer Finance at the Center for American Progress (CAP). Other positions include managing the single-family policy team at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, serving as senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, and working in a variety of positions in the legal aid field. Gordon received her bachelor's degree in government from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Phillip Swagel is a professor at the School of Public Policy of the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at the Milken Institute. Swagel was assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department from December 2006 to January 2009. In that position, he served as a member of the TARP investment committee and advised Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on all aspects of economic policy. Swagel previously worked at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, and taught economics at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. 

For additional information, please contact Matthew Aleshire, Government Affairs Associate at