Stearns Lending, Inc. announced the appointment of Hershel Malett as vice president – Internal Audit, Mortgage Operations. In this role, he will lead a team focused on development and maintenance of robust audit programs and performance of operational audits. “Hershel has spent more than 20 years in the mortgage industry accumulating broad, hand’s-on experience in disciplines that include underwriting, credit risk, quality assurance, and operational controls,” said Karen Crawford, chief legal officer at Stearns Lending. “Robust internal audit capabilities are an essential component of the risk control framework necessary for the success of our company. We are pleased to welcome Hershel and look forward to his valuable contributions to our internal audit program.” Malett most recently served as senior vice president – Operational Risk at Benchmark Bank, Where he was responsible for integrating operational activities of the retail and correspondent business channel to achieve standardization and efficiencies, as well as oversight of Quality Control, Investor Relations, and agency relationships. He previously served as assistant vice president, Credit Risk at MetLife Bank, N.A., where he established and managed a robust program for training, and monitoring performance, of the company’s mortgage underwriters. In a prior role as Governance Manager at Fannie Mae, Malett developed a quality performance management department and directed activities to ensure lender compliance with Fannie Mae.