staggering. “At the end of the day, all of this work, these forecasts, these strategic planning groups, these analyses, are geared to help every player in real estate, from lenders to consumers to investors, understand what we are all doing and thinking about real estate and housing at any given time,” he said.

“THE ROLE OF CHIEF ECONOMIST at Fannie Mae is a little different than a chief economist role anywhere else,” Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, started out. He then went on to detail a list of responsibilities, data and analytics sources and reports, and economic teams under his supervision that is, in a word,


Title: Senior Vice President, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae

Recognitions & Awards

Named one of Bloomberg/ BusinessWeek’s 50 Most Powerful People in Real Estate

Leads the Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group, which won the NABE Outlook Award for most accurate GDP and Treasury note yield forecasts for back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016

Academic Background:

B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University

Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M

Fortunately, Duncan is up to the task. After spending 16 years as senior vice president and chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), he transitioned to his current position, senior vice president and chief economist with Fannie Mae, where he is the head of economic and strategic research. “A lot of things that might be separate from the economist’s team in other organizations are included at Fannie Mae,” Duncan said. “We do forecasts, obviously, but we also have a strategic planning group (the Economic and Strategic Research (ESR)

group), a group that runs pilot programs, and a group that studies startups, for example. We survey not just consumers and residents, but also lenders to find out what they are doing, seeing, and thinking.” Duncan noted that while most people think of Fannie Mae as existing primarily to serve homeowners and further homeownership in the United States, that role is more multifaceted than most imagine. Duncan’s division of Fannie Mae is dedicated not just to identifying current and future housing trends, but also to understanding what events may

have contributed to the evolution of those trends and the motivations and rationale behind the actions of all parties involved. For example, Duncan said, at present his ESR group is involved in a great deal of research revolving around what he called simply, “the question of floods.” He explained, “We are looking closely at what we believe we know about risks related to flooding.” Because Fannie Mae has predetermined underwriting standards that compel it to purchase certain mortgages from lenders if no other buyer emerges (see sidebar on p. 22), it is vitally important

the GSE understand every facet of risk to a physical property at every point in time. In addition to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey and Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, Duncan and his team are constantly involved in the diligent analysis of a variety of “Special Topics” gleaned from the data collected through the two cornerstone reviews, which are conducted monthly and quarterly, respectively. At present, special topics include digital mortgage technology, housing affordability, barriers to homeownership, and cybersecurity.

Professional Positions & Experience:

Senior Vice President & Chief Economist, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) 1992-2002 Senior Vice President & Chief Economist , Fannie Mae 2018-PRESENT

LEGIS Fellow & staff member, Committee on Banking, Finance & Urban Affairs for Congressman Bill McCollum (U.S. House of Representatives, R-FL) Financial Institutions Project, U.S. Department of Agriculture

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