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Panelist Biography

Presenter Biographies

Last Updated: July 12, 2007

William C. Apgar Jr., Lecturer in Public Policy, returned to the Kennedy School after leave to serve as Assistant Secretary of Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He currently serves as Faculty Chair of the KSG's Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government Officials. He is also a Senior Scholar at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies where he leads a research effort on accessing capital for community development. He also coordinates the Joint Center's research on home remodeling activity and writes the biannual report of the Center's Remodeling Futures Program. Active in community affairs, he is a founding member of the board of Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Inc., a nonprofit organization that acquires, rehabilitates, owns, and manages housing affordable to the nation's low- and moderate-income households, and of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, the mortgage industry funded effort to help low- and moderate-income borrowers avoid foreclosure.

Honorable John C. Weicher, former Federal Housing Commissioner, has rejoined Hudson Institute to serve as director of a new policy program, the Center for Housing and Financial Markets. The center will analyze policy issues in housing, homeownership, the housing finance system, and related markets.

Weicher, the former Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner (2001-2005), is one of the nation's leading experts in housing policies. At HUD Weicher was responsible for FHA's five million home mortgages and half a trillion dollars of federal mortgage insurance, was "mission regulator" for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and served on the Federal Housing Finance Board, which regulates the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.

Weicher, holds a Ph.D. in economics from The University of Chicago, has a distinguished record as both a professional economist and a federal policymaker, specializing in housing and housing finance issues during his entire career.

Prior to his appointment by President George W. Bush, Weicher was a senior fellow at Hudson Institute from 1993 to 2001 where he directed the Michigan Urban Policy Initiative. The initiative, which reformed Michigan's property tax reversion system, was enacted with strong bipartisan support and has reduced the number of abandoned houses in Michigan's cities.

Diane Thompson
Diane Thompson is the supervisory attorney for the Housing and Consumer Rights Unit at the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation 's East St. Louis office. She has extensive experience in all areas of housing law, and has authored client education brochures. Thompson's numerous community activities include outreach to neighborhood organizations and seminars on landlord-tenant laws, public housing rights, fair housing, affordable housing and home ownership. She also chairs the education and outreach committee of the board of a local fair housing organization. She serves on the Consumer Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve Board, which advises the Board on the exercise of its responsibilities under the Consumer Credit Protection Act and on other matters in the area of consumer financial services. She supervises consumer rights litigation and works with community organizations on affordable housing and community economic development. She also supervises comprehensive homeless advocacy and homeless prevention projects in one of the poorest and most economically depressed cities in the country. She has expertise in the Truth-in-Lending and Home Ownership and Equity Protection Acts and is an experienced anti-predatory lending advocate and litigator in the St. Louis area. She is a graduate of NYU Law School and served as a Skadden Fellow.

Jack M. Guttentag, former Jacob Safra Professor of International Banking at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has been a student of the home loan market for many years.

He has also served as a consultant to many government agencies and private financial institutions, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USAID, Freddie Mac, the World Bank, J.P. Morgan Securities, and many others. In addition, he was a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and Guild Mortgage Investments as well as managing editor of both the Journal of Finance and the Housing Finance Review.

Throughout his career, Professor Guttentag has been concerned with the difficulties faced by consumers in the home loan market. In 1985, he founded GHR Systems, Inc., which developed a nationwide electronic network that lenders use to deliver complex mortgage information quickly to loan-officer employees, mortgage brokers, and consumers on the Internet.

Professor Guttentag began to focus his efforts more fully toward helping consumers navigate the home loan market effectively in 1997. He began writing a weekly nationally syndicated column on mortgages and developed The Mortgage Professor web site. Both are designed to help consumers make better home-buying decisions.

In 2000, in collaboration with several mortgage brokers, Professor Guttentag developed Upfront Mortgage Brokers (UMBs). Brokers who agree to do business in accordance with UMB principles, and who display these principles prominently on their web sites, are certified as UMBs.

Professor Guttentag's books include "The Pocket Mortgage Guide" (2003) and "The Mortgage Encyclopedia" (2004), both published by McGraw-Hill.

Michael Desmond
Adjunct Professor of Law; Tax Legislative Counsel, Office of Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury Department

B.A., dean's academic honors, University of California at Santa Barbara; J.D., magna cum laude, Catholic University. Professor Desmond is the Tax Legislative Counsel in the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy, responsible for providing the Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) with legal advice and analysis on a broad range of issues relating to the domestic Federal tax law. Prior to joining the Office of Tax Policy, Mr. Desmond was a partner at McKee Nelson LLP in Washington, D.C., where his practice focused on large case tax litigation and tax controversy matters. Before joining McKee Nelson, Professor Desmond was a trial lawyer with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. He is an active member of the ABA's Tax Section and the former Chair of the Tax Audits and Litigation Committee of the Taxation Section of the D.C. Bar. Professor Desmond is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the California Bar.

Kenneth D. Wade
Chief Executive Officer, NeighborWorks® America

As chief executive officer of NeighborWorks® America, Kenneth D. Wade oversees the multimillion-dollar grant programs and training activities that support a national network of more than 235 affordable housing and community development organizations. NeighborWorks® America is a public nonprofit corporation established as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation by an Act of Congress in 1978. [NeighborWorks® America is the organization's trade name.]

Wade, who joined NeighborWorks® America in 1990, has more than 25 years of experience in community development. He most recently served for five years as NeighborWorks® America's director of national programs, initiatives, and research. In this role, Wade directed all national programmatic initiatives for NeighborWorks® America, including the Campaign for Home Ownership, the Multifamily Initiative, the Insurance Alliance, the Rural Initiative, and the Community Building and Organizing Initiative. Wade has overseen the development of a number of national partnerships on behalf of the NeighborWorks® network. In addition, he served as the director of the NeighborWorks® America New England district for eight years.

Prior to joining NeighborWorks® America, Wade worked for nine years with Boston's United South End Settlements. He participated in the development of the "Community Investment Plan" in Boston established by local banks and the Community Investment Coalition in 1990. He has served on a variety of boards and committees. Currently he serves on the Fannie Mae National Housing Advisory Council, the Bank of America National Community Advisory Council, the Board of Trustees of the National Housing Conference, the Board of Overseers of the School of Community & Economic Development of Southern New Hampshire University, the Board for the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders and the Board of Trustees for The Appraisal Foundation.

Wade studied at Springfield College and University of Massachusetts College of Public and Community Service.