Mama Mia! Millie Freel-Mackin Retires from the New York State Banking DepartmentMichael Simonbanking, regulatory, MFM Consultants Inc.
On Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2001, Director of Mortgage Banking
Examinations Millie Freel-Mackin resigned from her post at the New
York State Banking Department to venture into the world of
regulatory consulting. She leaves the Department, after more than
25 years of service and commitment, with some very large shoes to
fill, both behind and in front of her.
Ms. Freel-Mackin first began employment with Department in April
of 1977, after working as an assistant to the treasurer of an
S&L bank, where she was responsible for handling the financial
reviews and preparing the statements. Millie was so organized,
precise and knowledgeable with the books, that when the Banking
Department came in to conduct their exam, the examiners suggested
that she join them. She took the test, passed, and made the leap
from the private sector to the polical realm for a healthy $4,000
Ms. Freel-Mackin initially signed on as, in her own words, "a
perennial office temp," bouncing from position to position, and
helping out wherever the Department requested. However, in 1980,
the Department decided to rewrite Article 12-D, and sought out some
internal help--this particular rewrite was to bring the Mortgage
Broker and the Mortgage Banker communities under the Banking
Department's authority. The first deputy superintendent of banks
came through looking for volunteers willing to supervise the new
broker/banker division, and Millie stepped up.
"I felt that I knew all about mortgages, since I had experience
at an S&L bank. Not being a man, I was never told to not
volunteer for anything, so I took the position. [The Deputy] felt
that the industry was small enough, so he gave me the job. Needless
to say, I was in for a surprise. I may have known how to write a
mortgage, but I had no idea about mortgage banking."
Thankfully, Millie was humble enough to apply her desire for
knowledge and advancement, and took the steps necessary to learn
the inner-workings of the industry. She called every Mortgage
Broker and Banker under her control (at the time there were only 16
brokers and bankers around the state, now there are more than
2,250), and asked them to teach her about their business.
"In order to be a good regulator, you have to know what you are
regulating. It is fine to know the laws, it is fine to know the
regulations, but you need to know who your regulating entities are,
and how they operate in order to be really successful. And that was
what I wanted to do."
She recalls her first engagement with much fondness: "I remember
coming home and telling my husband how high I was on mortgage
banking. I loved the industry and I felt that [bankers and brokers]
were going to help people. I believed they were competent, honest
professionals who knew their market, and I wanted to be a part of
it. It was in my blood."
Consequently, Millie continued to work closely with Mortgage
Brokers and Bankers over the next five years: She was influential
in writing the first Mortgage Banking report; she worked in the
field and administered exams; she assisted with educational classes
and training programs; and, for a while, she even filled in as a
temporary bank examiner.
In 1986, when the Department decided to rewrite the regulation,
Part 38, they called Ms. Freel-Mackin away from her hands-on
industry position, due to her overwhelming knowledge and
experience. She was the obvious choice for the job, but she
begrudgingly gave up her assignment.
"I came back kicking and screaming. I loved the industry and
wanted to augment my career in the Banking Department--there was no
chance for advancement on the regulatory/compliance side."
Until Dec. 19, Ms. Freel-Mackin had stayed on the regulations
side of the Department, and was subsequently awarded the unique
distinction of director of Mortgage Banking Examinations for her
many years of service and dedication, since the then-established
promotion system did not allow for any further advancement. Hence,
her position will be retired along with her.
Now Millie plans to take her years of regulatory knowledge and
experience with her to MFM Consultants Inc., her new consulting
"I have great knowledge of the industry and its regulation. I
have a good rapport, and I know that there are many firms out there
that can benefit from my many years of experience. It is just the
very next thing for me to do. I will be doing what I have done for
years, except I will be doing it on the other side."
She plans to build her new company on the integrity of the
regulation and education that she loves and respects. She plans to
incorporate every tool available to her, and hopes to eventually
branch MFM Consultants Inc. into a quality control department. "I
have never been one to sit in the background. I want to work with
both lenders and regulators to make sure the industry is dealt with
But first and foremost, she wants to stay connected with the
Mortgage Brokers and Bankers.
"I think it is because of my fairness within the industry that I
have made so many industry friends. Now that I am stepping from the
regulator's side into the industry, I feel that both sides are with
me in this move. I believe that the people who I am leaving behind
in the Department will be able to carry that fairness with them
over the years, and I am certain that the industry will benefit
from my expertise."
When Ms. Freel-Mackin leaves the Department, her official role
as a regulator will terminate, though she plans to continue
dedicating her time to its development. While working under the
Department, she had helped to implement the Department's training
program and served as Training Committee Chair of the American
Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR). She intends
to stay in the foreground, and is applying to AARMR as an auxiliary
member, and plans to apply for a position on AARMR's Advisory
"If a regulator needs to constantly update themselves on their
laws, and is in constant training to keep apprised of regulations,
I think that the industry also needs to be constantly updating. I
am in favor of both education and continuing education
requirements, because what was true yesterday may not necessarily
be true tomorrow. An educated Mortgage Broker will be less apt to
be a regulatory problem. If I did not believe that, I would have
just retired and rode into the sunset."
From her new post, Ms. Freel-Mackin wants to explore every nook
and cranny of her new profession, from legislative affairs to state
associations. "I plan to be involved in the industry, its groups
and the causes that are affecting it. I want to help the industry's
voice be heard. The industry is constantly growing, and I plan on
joining every organization that I am able to."
Her goals for MFM Consultants Inc. are similar to those of her
"I feel the New York State Banking Department is a forerunner
for regulators and Mortgage Brokers and Bankers across the county,
and I want people to be able to look to New York on both the
industry side and the regulatory side as a leader. I hope to be
instrumental in that."
Ms. Freel-Mackin has grown with the industry around her, and
looks to the future with much anticipation. "The industry has grown
and is still growing. Mama [a Department nickname she acquired
because of her motherly nature] has moved past the sixteen brokers
and bankers I began with."
I hope that the people I will be servicing as I go on to my new
life will benefit from what I have to give them. I do not want to
limit my firm--I want to be there for [Mortgage Brokers and
Bankers] the way they have always been there for me."
I often think of the deputy that hired me to my first industry
post. I wonder what he would think of Mama today."