Women lead industry through the haze of pandemic

Women lead

As the holidays ramped up in early December 2019, Woman of Influence Charlotte Catalfo had her eye not on decorating and gift-wrapping, but on a small but worrisome health crisis escalating halfway across the globe. 

From the suburban Virginia headquarters of mortgage securitizer Freddie Mac, Catalfo kept tabs on a new virus that the Chinese government was having trouble containing to the city of Wuhan. When the now-infamous COVID-19 virus hopscotched to Italy, she knew that it was time to put Freddie Mac’s emergency continuity plan into gear. As senior vice president for enterprise operations and a member of Freddie Mac’s senior operating committee, it was her responsibility to figure out how to ensure uninterrupted work with investors, lenders, multifamily property owners and homeowners if business as usual was thrown off track.

Leading the Freddie Mac’s business continuity initiative, which manages $2.2 trillion in assets, Catalfo cleared the way for ongoing collaboration with regulators and business partners to firm up policies to keep Americans safely housed. Her team worked with lenders to lay out policies for mortgage forbearance, if it was needed. She oversaw dress rehearsals in which Freddie Mac departments practiced remote work to find and fix technical and logistical glitches. 

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