Marcia Griffin, Founder & President
Marcia Griffin is the founder and president of HomeFree-USA. She has helped thousands to achieve and retain the dream of homeownership and greater wealth. HomeFree-USA enjoys a remarkable 0% foreclosure rate among families that have participated in the organization’s pre- and post-purchase guidance programs. Serving as a bridge between financial institutions and the community, Marcia addresses the needs of homebuyers and homeowners with targeted education, distinctive marketing strategies and lender advocacy.
Marcia is a recognized homeownership expert and frequent featured guest speaker. She is the senior advisor and homeownership partner to 300 black faith-based leaders in a financial empowerment movement designed to improve the financial stature of 50,000 church members across the country. She is a member of the Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, a member of the Ocwen Financial Community Advisor Council, a member of America’s Homeowner Alliance Advisory Board and a member of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Steering Committee. Most recently, she was appointed to the the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta Affordable Housing Advisory Council.
In 2013, she was given the community service award from the National Bankers Association, a consortium of 30 national minority banks. In 2015, she was named a Woman of Influence by Housing Wire magazine recognizing her outstanding efforts in driving the U.S. housing economy forward.
James (Jim) M. Griffin, COO
Jim's career spans more than 45 years in mortgage banking with a focus on affordable housing and direct experience in mortgage lending, management of specialized loan programs, inner city real estate development, housing consulting, and the provision of transitional housing and support for homeless families. He has worked across the U.S. and abroad serving as a financial advisor and public housing policy consultant to HUD, U.S.A.I.D., World Bank, and numerous city, state and foreign governments.
Board of Directors
Gwendolyn Garnett, Board Chair
Co-founder and Ceo, TAPESTRY
Gwendolyn Garnett is the co-founder and CEO of TAPESTRY, a multicultural strategy, community and corporate initiatives coaching and organizational development firm. She also owns Mamalu Travel. Gwen retired from Bank of America in 2005 after 24 years where she served as the Neighborhood Lending executive for the Consumer Real Estate division. In that capacity, she was responsible for driving multicultural and low-to-moderate income lending sales, education and counseling across the country. She also served as the Consumer Real Estate Multicultural executive, National Loan Center executive, Technology & Operations Division Executive, and held many other diverse leadership roles in the company.
Philip W. Bracken
Chief Policy Officer, Radian Guaranty
Phil Bracken is Chairman and Founder of the America’s Homeowner Alliance – the advocacy and member rewards alliance for the 75 million existing (and future aspiring) Homeowners of America. He is also Chief Policy Officer and Head of Government & Industry Relations for Radian Guaranty Mortgage Insurance, the largest private mortgage insurance company in the U.S. In addition, for the past 9 years, Mr. Bracken has been Co-Chairman of the Consumer / Lender Roundtable in Washington, DC and President of the Housing Renaissance.
Hala Farid, SVP
Director, Office of Homeownership Preservation, Citi Community Development
Hala Farid is the Director of the Office of Homeownership Preservation at Citi Community Development. Her affordable housing career began in 1990, but since 1994, she has focused on sourcing and preserving opportunities for inclusionary housing, and sustainable homeownership for families and individuals with limited means. She worked for Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC for over eight years providing New York families with homeownership counseling and education, pre-purchase, post purchase, Landlord Training and foreclosure prevention/intervention.
Hala joined Citi Community Development in 2002, and has had several assignments ranging from affordable mortgage products and homeownership program development to managing the Citi Office of Homeownership Preservation (OHP) which is dedicated to creating and preserving homeownership opportunities in LMI neighborhoods, and supporting community stabilization efforts. As Director of OHP, Hala manages National Nonprofit partners and advocates, supporting their efforts to find alternatives to foreclosure, to plan and implement strategies that facilitate the responsible disposition of REO’s, to support the development and sustainability of policies, practices and programs that promote community stabilization, and reduce blight.
Paul A. Koches
Paul Koches has practiced law for over 35 years with broad experience including regulatory, corporate, finance, mergers and acquisitions, international, and intellectual property matters. Currently he is President of Mortgage Policy Advisors, LLC, a business consulting firm, and serves on boards of directors of various non-profit organizations. He previously held executive positions in a leading mortgage servicing company, serving as General Counsel and then Senior Advisor for Government and Community Relations, and was partner in a large Washington DC-based law firm.
Senior Vice President, Head of State and Local Government Relations, Wells Fargo Company
Senior Vice President Joe Ohayon is head of State & Local Government Relations for Government and Community Relations at Wells Fargo Company.
He is responsible for leading the company’s outreach strategy with state and local government officials and agencies to address reputation and policy issues affecting the company in the states and communities in which we operate. He also oversees community outreach and initiatives with national and local housing and credit counseling agencies to promote homeownership education and home preservation efforts and stimulate growth and stability in distressed areas.
A 24-year veteran of the mortgage servicing business, Ohayon joined Wells Fargo in 2006 as head of Community Outreach for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage where he led home preservation programs to assist customers and communities impacted by foreclosures and other challenges during the housing crisis. Under Ohayon’s leadership, the team led more than 1,600 home preservation events across the U.S., helping 46,000 homeowners facing financial hardship.