As housing prices rise, affordable housing has become a major concern and business opportunity. For Michael Falcone, the newly named CEO of MMA Financial, the topic qualifies as both. The company, which is the principal operating subsidiary of MuniMae, provides both debt and equity financing for multifamily and affordable housing around the country. He's quite familiar with the company and the issues. In 1983, just out of college, Falcone started as an analyst at one of MuniMae's predecessor companies. (He has an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard). In this Q&A, Falcone offers his thoughts on his new job, the industry, and the challenges he sees.
Q: Why were you interested in this job?
A: Having served as the company's president and chief operating officer since MuniMae became a NYSE-listed company in 1996, I was happy to take on a new challenge to serve as chief executive officer and continue to work with my colleagues and Mark Joseph [who will become chairman of the board].
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for the multifamily industry in the coming year?
A: The economy. [But] as long as it continues to produce new jobs, I believe the multifamily industry will be fine. Tax reform will also be a factor in determining the future values of multifamily housing.
Michael Falcone Q: What will be the greatest challenges for your company this year?
A: We must constantly evolve to provide the best products and services to our customers.
Q: What do you enjoy about working in this particular sector?
A: The cornerstone of our business is affordable housing, and I like that our business meets a social need by providing quality housing for underprivileged families. If I could change anything, though, it would be that were no economically disadvantaged families who need affordable housing.
Q: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you about your career?
A: I was once told to always work with good people, whether colleagues or clients. This advice has proved solid for both my career and in the business of multifamily finance.