Head of Risk Modeling and Analytics
VP, Head of Risk Modeling and Analytics
Freedom Financial Asset Management
Freedom Financial Network (“Freedom”), based in San Mateo, California, is a leading holistic debt solutions company addressing consumer’s financial needs. Freedom was founded in 2002 by Stanford Business School Graduates Andrew Housser and Bradford Stroh in a spare bedroom in Silicon Valley. Since that time, the company has blossomed into a leader in online financial debt services that provides customers with successful solutions for debt resolution, mortgage shopping and personal loans. Freedom has already surpassed the $4 Billion dollar mark in terms of cumulative debt resolved for well over 250,000 customers.
Freedom operates out of offices in San Mateo, California and Tempe, Arizona. The company has been recognized as one of the Best Places to work, several years running, by both the San Francisco Business Times and the Phoenix Business Journal. The company has also been in the Inc. 500. Thanks to an ever-growing customer base spread widely across the United States, the company employs over 1,200 employees. The company has also compiled consecutive record years operationally and financially and is intent on carefully developing the organization going forward in order to support continued revenue, product and geographic growth.
Freedom helps people improve their financial well-being through a family of companies that includes: Bills.com, Freedom Debt Relief (FDR), and Freedom Financial Asset Management (FreedomPlus & ConsolidationPlus). The company’s services might mean helping a consumer resolve unsecured debt for the least possible cost, providing an unsecured personal loan, or enabling tools to best inform and match a consumer with a mortgage or other loan product. The Freedom Debt Relief product is designed to help consumers facing serious debt challenges quickly resolve their unsecured debt by working directly with creditors to find the best possible negotiated settlement. FDR is the industry leader, and has settled more debt than any other company in the nation on behalf of its customers. Freedom Financial Asset Management currently provides two unsecured personal loan products that let consumers more effectively achieve their goals through a proprietary underwriting process that delivers lower cost loans for borrowers and lower risk consumer loan portfolios for accredited investors. Bills.com, a leading online marketplace, enables consumers to make more informed decisions about a mortgage or other loan options. Its information helps people better understand and compare every aspect of their loan, including pricing, product, features and service.
Freedom has grown tremendously over the past 14 years, and has achieved scale while retaining a majority of senior level executives within the organization during this growth. The foundation for some of the lengthy tenures in the organization stems from its great culture, a desire to be as nimble and innovative today, and in the future, as the company was during its early days. Freedom is well capitalized, and the founding team is proud of having bootstrapped its growth for almost a decade before bringing on two institutional partners for minority investments in the past several years (Stone Point Capital & Vulcan Capital). The company also has secured hundreds of million of capital commitments associated with the Freedom Financial Asset Management business.
Freedom is a wonderful combination of a fast moving entrepreneurial team with a great work environment combined with the stability and reliable revenue streams of a well-established company. The company has essentially funded through internal operations multiple different start-up businesses, each of which has successfully grown since being launched. The company has also worked hard to attract a growing number of highly talented and experienced leaders from multiple industries, and has an exceptionally experienced credit team with deep credit industry experience. The company’s passion is helping real people improve their financial future by making smart decisions about unsecured debt, mortgages and other financial products.
To learn more about Freedom Financial Network, please visit their website at www.freedomfinancialnetwork.com.
The HRMA will serve as the owner and custodian for all credit risk, fraud risk, and Direct Marketing models and tools needed to support the company’s FreedomPlus and ConsolidationPlus (C+) loan products, which currently serve as the primary lending products under the Freedom Financial Asset Management Family.
The ConsolidationPlus product targets current Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) clients, while the FreedomPlus product targets potential customers that have a FICO score between 640 and 750. FreedomPlus offers product terms that are competitive and based on individual borrower needs, with interest rates that range between 7.5% to 29.9%, and loan sizes that range between $5,000 and $35,000.
The HRMA will lead a 5 – 7 person team to build, monitor, improve and govern approximately 10 models that enable the key lending activities of the business. He/she will closely partner with the Credit Policy and Pricing function, the Capital Markets function and the Chief Data Officer organization to enable accurate risk prediction, loss forecasting, and valuations that are at the heart of new loan marketing and originations, and loan sales to investors. The HRMA will be a key participant in setting the Credit Risk Management strategy of the business and evolving with the growth of the business.
The HRMA role will be very visible in nature, and as such, will be a high impact role within the organization. He/she will be part of the leadership team in a business that has taken significant steps to develop a hybrid underwriting system that combines credit data modeling with “old school” manual underwriting.
Some of the additional key responsibilities for the Head of Risk Modeling and Analytics will include:
- Become the thought leader within the organization as it pertains to all aspects of the risk prediction associated with loan products, and proactively seek out opportunities to increase the knowledge base across the organization of the credit and fraud risk function.
- Develop a delinquency early warning system. In doing so, make recommendations for topline model adjustments based on inherent model limitations, model performance, or business and economic risks not captured in the loss forecast.
- Review and refresh the direct mail response and approval models.
- Conducts validations of a wide variety of models against established standards; develop benchmarks, and replicate models were applicable.
- Evaluate model assumptions and weaknesses and prepare reports describing the results of the validation analysis.
- Seek out opportunities to improve forecasting platforms, methods and techniques to produce more accurate forecasts and improve processes to meet executive leadership needs.
- Develop advanced analytics for backtesting, archive studies, model diagnosis and error attribution.
- Understanding and applying proper risk framework to the analysis and modeling.
- Identify and escalate within the organization risk trends in current portfolios, as well as staying abreast of potential new products/portfolios under consideration.
- Attract, develop, and grow, as appropriate, a team of highly skilled, highly analytical data scientists to develop sophisticated credit/risk profiles and monitoring reports.
- Effectively communicate model results and limitation considerations to internal and external bodies such as regulators, auditors, potential business partners, and investors.
- Partner closely with external valuation consultants and investment banks in communicating the “FFAM Credit Philosophy” and be able to explain technical matters in an easy to understand manner
As a company, FFN operates in a highly entrepreneurial fashion, but is also a very data driven organization. As such, the individual coming into the HRMA role will need to carefully balance the need to methodically implement guidelines, processes, and procedures that are consistent with enhancing and further bolstering the company’s risk models, but at the same time operate in a fashion that is highly respectful of the company’s entrepreneurial roots, culture, and lack of big company formality. In order to achieve success in this role, he/she must be someone that embraces collaboration with entire senior leadership team.
Finalist candidates for this role will need to have a strong sense of self-confidence, as well as excellent oral, written, and presentation communication skills. He/she will be someone that describes himself/herself, and that is described by others, as data driven, culturally sensitive, thoughtful, methodical, empowering, and approachable, along with being results driven and forward leaning into new opportunities. He/she will be known for leading others by example, whether direct reports or indirect reports, to meet challenging goals and objectives, and to treating others, both inside and outside of the organization, with respect. While Freedom Financial Network has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years, individuals across the organization have a tremendous amount of contact, at times on a daily basis, with multiple members of the senior most leadership team. Therefore, finalist candidates for this role will need to be very comfortable being a hands-on “player-coach” in his/her role. Success in role will require an ability to embrace toggling on a daily basis between high level, strategic discussions, and “in the weeds” tactical/execution orientated discussions.
The minimum experience and educational requirements for an individual to receive consideration as a prospective candidate for this role are as follows:
- 15+ years of total experience, at least a substantial portion of which has been within the financial services industry. In addition, he/she will have a minimum of 3-5+ years experience directly involved in consumer lending operations, preferably in unsecured loan products like credit cards, personal loans, and/or sub-prime products.
- Graduate degree in a quantitative field of study (math, economics, financial engineering, operations research, finance, and/or statistics). A Ph. D is highly preferred.
- Very strong analytical skills, combined with an ability to communicate conclusions of analysis with a high degree of clarity, and in a succinct, clear, and compelling fashion.
- Demonstrated experience in statistical modeling and analysis, qualitative analysis, and reporting
- Demonstrated experience in developing and deploying models that were used in live decisions
- A track record in his/her career in roles demonstrating a consistent record of personal and professional growth.
- Track record of having strong influencing and communication skills. Track record, or strong indications, of leadership success in a highly collaborative fashion.
- Ability to demonstrate an aptitude for critical thinking and working in the grey areas associated with the discipline of risk assessment.
- High level of comfort working within the financial services industry, as well as working within a rapidly growing environment in which change is a constant. High level of comfort for working within an organization that has been successful through a combination of both formal and informal reporting relationships.
- Strategic thinking and independent initiative to constructively, but passionately, challenge and impact the decision making process. A strong sense of confidence in his/her ability to make independent decisions, but willing and able to do so in an environment in which a high level of collaboration is an expected behavior characteristic.