David Brickman was appointed CEO of Freddie Mac in July 2019. He has been with the company for over two decades, previously serving as a longtime leader of its multifamily division. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Freddie’s sister GSE, have both been in government conservatorship for eleven years and there finally seems to be a feasible pathway back to private status. In this interview, David dives deep about his leadership of Freddie’s multifamily group and his rise within the organization based on his innovations, particularly in the area of securitization and housing affordability.
A unique aspect of this episode is that most Leading Voices in Real Estate guests are founders or early generation leaders of companies. Due to the nature of the GSEs, there has been a lineage of chief executives before David. Freddie Mac makes housing possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since the creation by Congress in 1970, they’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. As aforementioned, in 2008 the U.S. government placed the GSEs into conservatorship, which included additional oversight for the CEO, the role David now assumes.
David’s interest in real estate began at an early age, growing up in Lower Manhattan in the 1970s. During this time, he saw the empty lots start to turn into housing, offices, and retail, and he would take the subway up to the Bronx each day for high school, where he would see different urban landscapes and substantial changes happening to the city.
Following his undergraduate degree, David ran a not for profit community development corporation in New York when he was only 22. He left New York to earn a master’s degree in public policy, and subsequently moved to D.C. where he worked as a consultant and pursued a Ph.D. in economics and real estate at MIT. David was approached by a colleague at Freddie Mac to join the organization full time in 1999.
His first official role at Freddie Mac was senior vice president and vice president in charge of the Multifamily Capital Markets business area. In these positions, he oversaw all functions relating to Freddie Mac’s multifamily and CMBS investment and capital markets activities. He is the key architect behind several of Freddie Mac’s innovative multifamily financing products, including the Capital Markets Execution and K-Deal program, Reference Bill ARM, fixed-to-float suite of products, and Performance-Based PC, for which he holds a U.S. patent.
He then was the head of Freddie Mac Multifamily, where he presided over a remarkable period of growth – raising annual production from $16 billion in 2010 to almost $80 billion in 2018 and increasing the organization from 300 staff members in four offices to approximately 1000 employees in a dozen locations across the country. He also firmly established the company’s flagship K-Deal Securitization program as one of the leading securitized products in the structured finance markets. Brickman also drove significant innovation and an expansion in Freddie Mac’s products and offerings – particularly those that serve the growing need for affordable and workforce housing.
Most recently, David served as President of Freddie Mac and was responsible for all three of Freddie Mac’s business lines – Single-Family, Multifamily and Capital Markets – as well as the information technology and operations areas that support these business lines. When former CEO Don Layton was retiring, he approached David about pursuing the role, who saw it as fortuitous timing as he was ready for the next challenge.
David completed all doctoral coursework for his Ph.D. in economics and real estate at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has held appointments as a professorial lecturer of finance at The George Washington University and as an adjunct professor of finance at Johns Hopkins University.
Episodes will be released the first and third Mondays of every month, with our next interview on January 6th with Amy Price.