“Jim Lockhart has been there (underwater) and survived. Few persons today can speak with authority and knowledge of managing the shoals of critical government agencies and their continued need of repair.”
–G. William Hoagland, SVP, Bipartisan Policy Center
Politicians’ polls are at an all-time low. Most Americans are frustrated with Washington. The country’s biggest program, Social Security, is only twelve years from insolvency, and two of the nation’s largest financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are well into their second decade of conservatorships as wards of the state.
In Underwater, James B. Lockhart, a former submarine officer with the US Navy who went on to play a large part in the government’s response to the Global Financial Crisis, tells an important story about managing government agencies that—in submarine parlance—are deep underwater, then provides solutions on how to help them and the overall government surface.
As President Geroge H. W. Bush once said, “There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country and your fellow citizens, and to do it well.” Underwater is about trying to do it well.
“Jim Lockhart worked with his agencies to develop their pictures of success, the desired outcomes, and then worked with them to develop the realistically aggressive and affordable means to deliver them as planned and promised. The US government is prone to ‘work at’ being successful, but Jim and others like him have shown that federal agencies CAN be effective when the desired outcomes are clear and agency leaders work WITH their employees to accomplish them.”
George W. Bush
“[T]he new regulatory agency, led by my friend and businessman Jim Lockhart… concluded the GSE’s had nowhere enough capital…the only way to prevent a disaster was to take Fannie and Freddie into government conservatorship. It was up to Hank [Paulson] and Jim…"
Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
“[W]ith my colleagues in government, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, Sheila Bair, Chris Cox,John Dugan, Jim Lockhart— at times we differed on philosophy and strategy, but I never doubted their dedication to this country or their commitment to taking the bold actions necessary to save the system."
“Through his tours of federal service, Jim Lockhart brings exceptional credentials and perspective to understanding the risks when government misprices insurance and to proposing changes that reduce taxpayer risk while improving economic outcomes.”
G. William Hoagland
“Jim Lockhart has been there (underwater) and survived. Few persons today can speak with authority and knowledge of managing the shoals of critical government agencies and their continued need of repair. Even out of government, he continues to address reforms, most recently as co-chair with former senator Kent Conrad of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings.”
Peter J. Wallison
“This country faces a significant problem now that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are back under government control in a Democratic administration. Jim Lockhart’s book will be invaluable to those concerned about the housing policies we will see from the Biden administration in the next three years."
“Jim Lockhart is the rare public servant who grasps the broad sweep of national policy and the technical details required to make real change. Jim brought these skills and a wealth of private sector knowledge to the Bipartisan Policy Center where he led a diverse group to develop solutions to the financial insecurity facing millions of retired Americans. Jim’s high regard among policy makers in both parties has made him an effective advocate for the BPC.”
“Jim Lockhart has held key posts in some of the government’s most troubled agencies and remains clear-sighted about the challenges they face. Americans should be educated about the mounting problems he describes, and demand that their representatives enact necessary reforms.”
Who is James B. Lockhart?
Leader of four critical but challenged government agencies, nuclear submarine officer, risk management executive, Yale graduate, Harvard MBA, and “... the most hated man in America you never heard of” per CNBC's Jim Cramer.
The Financial Times countered, “In a time America, or at least Wall Street, needs a spineless hack as the head of the key agency [OFHEO], it is saddled with a credible man of principal…’ A real hard-ass’ in the words of a mortgage finance executive.”
James B. Lockhart III has a long and distinguished career serving in senior positions in major companies and leading government agencies. He led at Social Security President G.W. Bush’s Social Security reform efforts. He was at the epicenter of the Great Financial Crisis as the regulator of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks and as member of the TARP Oversight Board. He was then Vice Chairman of Wilbur Ross’ private equity firm and now serves as a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center where he co-chaired its Commission on Retirement Savings.
Like the mortgage world, I truly know what it is like being “underwater” for a long time.
It's time to surface.