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WASHINGTON, DC-The commercial real estate industry is a small circle, despite the volumes of business it generates. So it comes as little surprise that Fannie Mae’s new chief economist is a familiar face to most in the industry. Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association, is leaving his position to join the GSE.

Duncan has been with MBA for 15 years, forecasting, analyzing and explaining happenings in commercial real estate to both industry insiders and those affected by the trends. “Over the past 15 years, MBA has become one of the most trusted sources of economic analysis on the housing industry. Doug Duncan has been a major reason why,” says Jonathan Kempner, president and CEO of MBA. “MBA’s loss is Fannie Mae’s gain, and I am buoyed by the fact that America’s housing industry will continue to benefit from Doug’s talents.” Kempner adds the organization is searching for a successor.

Prior to joining the MBA in 1992, Duncan worked on Capitol Hill as a LEGIS Fellow and staff member on the Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs, and at the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. He has been elected to the Board of Directors for the National Association of Business Economists.

Daniel Mudd, president and CEO also took note of Duncan’s background in the industry. “His counsel and scholarship will be important assets for the company as we strive to bring stability, liquidity and affordability to the turbulent housing and mortgage markets. I also hope that, given Doug’s role at the MBA, he will provide us with critical insights so that we can better serve our partners and customers in the years ahead.”

As chief economist at Fannie Mae, Duncan will provide forecasts and analysis on the economy, housing and mortgage markets for the company. He will also serve as a primary spokesperson on the economy and the housing and mortgage markets for the company. Duncan will join Fannie Mae in April.

Duncan is moving to Fannie as the GSE struggles with deepening financial losses. Wednesday it reported that lost $3.6 billion in Q4 2007, compared with a profit of $604 million in the same period a year earlier. In 2007, Fannie registered a $2.1 billion loss, compared with a profit of $4.1 billion in the prior year.

“We are working through the toughest housing and mortgage markets in a generation,” Mudd says. “While we are pleased that demand for our mortgage guaranty businesses has surged as we respond to the market’s urgent need for liquidity and stability, this positive trend has been far outweighed by the negative financial impacts of rising mortgage defaults, falling home prices, and extraordinary disruptions in the credit markets.”

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