What does one make of the Bush administration's nomination of Joseph J. Murin to be the new head of Ginnie Mae?
Yeah, I know what you're thinking – Joseph Who? Even Murin himself was caught off-guard. As he told the Associated Press: ‘When I got the call several months ago from the White House that I was among those being considered for the job, I was not only surprised, but honored.’
The good news is that Murin is more promising than Alphonso Jackson, the Bush crony who is running the Department of Housing and Urban Development (or running it into the ground, depending how you look at it). Murin would bring 36 years of financial services industry experience to Ginnie Mae – he began as a loan officer and wound up in the vendor side of the business, where he ran three companies (Lender's Service, Basis100 Corp. and Mortgage Settlement Network).
The bad news, however, is that Ginnie Mae needs someone with a firm understanding of the credit markets, the ability to sell securities at home and abroad, the innovation to create new products to meet the extraordinary changes affecting the industry, and the talent for bringing calm to a market which is more than a little jittery.
Murin has experience in financial services, but perhaps not the kind required for this position. Honestly, it is difficult to locate anything in Murin's CV that would suggest he has the skills, connections or perspicacity to not only fill the void left by outgoing Ginnie Mae head Robert Couch, but to also bring Ginnie Mae to the next level (particularly in today's financial environment).
No date has been set on when the Senate Finance Committee is going to grill Murin before his name is given to the full Senate for a vote. It's not likely that Murin will get the once-over that Michael ‘What's Waterboarding?’ Mukasey is getting in his bid for the Attorney General's seat.
The optimist could look at the Murin nomination and sigh that it could've been worse. The realist, though, would look on and sigh that it could've been much, much better.
Phil Hall, Secondary Marketing Executive