Leda Bloomfield

Master of Urban Planning

Leda headshot

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I wanted to find an urban planning school that connected planning to policy and to real people. I received traditional urban planning training, as well as non-traditional hands-on training in financial markets and analysis and program and policy evaluation. This is distinguished from other schools that have a heavier focus on design or theory. When I graduated, I felt prepared with the skills I needed to hit the ground running.

Wagner gave me different “tools” for the job. I have the technical skills to review a financing pro forma, the theoretical skills to talk housing and economic policy, and the professional skills to write briefing papers, manage projects, and influence change.

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

After graduation, I started as a Presidential Management Fellow in the federal government. I first heard about the fellowship through Wagner’s Office of Career Services, who arranged a prep session for all the semi-finalists with a Wagner alumna who was already a fellow. After becoming a finalist, my advisor Prof. Ingrid Ellen, connected me to other Wagner alum working for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Describe your current job.

As a Senior Policy Analyst, I am part of a small, but nimble team in the Office of Fair Lending Oversight at FHFA. FHFA oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks -- the key secondary mortgage market actors. In general, when borrowers get a mortgage, it is securitized and sold on the secondary market by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The office I work in ensures that the entities we oversee ensure equal access to all creditworthy applicants by reviewing and evaluating programs, policies, and credit models. Like many other financial services regulators, we examine the gap between protected classes, like racial minorities and women, and the reference group, such as White non-Hispanics and male borrowers, and look to see how that gap can be reduced while still meeting business objectives. It's exciting to be a part of an agency that has such a large impact on everyday Americans and our ability to access home ownership. This job requires policy analysis, quantitative economic modeling, and planning -- all key skills I learned at Wagner.