GSEs bolster diversity with senior hires

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week made two senior hires that increase diversity in leadership at the enterprises, where the leadership skews toward white and male.

At Freddie Mac, Dennis Hermonstyne Jr., who previously worked at Santander Bank, will assume the role of senior vice president and chief compliance officer. Starting Sept. 19, he will report directly to Freddie Mac CEO Michael DeVito, and work closely with Anil Hinduja, Freddie Mac’s chief risk officer.

Most recently, Hermonstyne was executive vice president and chief compliance officer at Santander Bank, in Boston, where he oversaw the bank’s strategic compliance program and the policies and procedures for compliance vulnerability across the company. Before that, Hermonstyne was the deputy chief compliance officer at E*TRADE Bank.

Hermonstyne’s role at Freddie Mac, a private company under government conservatorship, also marks his return to the federal government. Hermonstyne was previously a staff attorney in the division of consumer and community affairs at the Federal Reserve.

Hermonstyne fills a position left vacant by Freddie Mac’s former chief compliance officer, Jerry Mauricio, who left the company in June, a Freddie Mac spokesperson said. Mauricio had been serving in that role on a permanent basis since July 2021.

Fannie Mae also this week brought Katie Jones on board as its chief human resources officer. Prior to joining Fannie Mae, Jones held the same position at PRA group, a global financial services firm. She previously served in roles at SunTrust Bank, AIG and Crestar Bank.

In a prepared statement, Fannie Mae said Jones would work closely with the enterprise’s office of minority and women inclusion.

Fannie Mae did not respond to a request to comment.

Hermonstyne, who is Black, will be one of DeVito’s few direct reports who is a person of color. Most of the Freddie Mac’s senior leadership, as at Fannie Mae, is not racially diverse. 

While the workforces of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are majority-minority, per their financial filings, their officers and boards are not. Two-thirds of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s boards are white. Less than a quarter of Fannie Mae’s officers are minorities, according to its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Most of Freddie Mac’s officers are also white.

A Government Accountability Office report in 2020 found that the share of women and minorities in senior management at both of the GSEs had only slightly increased from 2011 to 2018. The enterprises did not have female directors on their boards until 2019.

That changed with the 2019 appointments of ex-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Sheila Bair as vice chair of Fannie Mae’s board, and Sara Mathew, as chair of Freddie Mac’s board. Bair, who was later elevated to chair Fannie Mae’s board, departed in May, along with CEO Hugh Frater.

Fannie Mae has not yet announced a permanent CEO. Freddie Mac also has another high-level role to fill. Donna Corley, who led the single-family division, announced her resignation in May.

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