Geoffrey A. Oliver (Jeff) CPA, CFF, CMB is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the various Hilltop companies. Prior to founding Hilltop Advisors in 2005, Jeff held senior leadership positions with KPMG, LLP and BearingPoint, Inc. for 29-years providing accounting, audit and consulting services. Jeff has served financial services, real estate, and government agency clients in the accounting, regulatory compliance, audit and consulting areas throughout his career. Jeff also specializes in fraud, forensics, investigations and providing Expert and support services for client litigation matters. He is a noted industry expert, a frequent conference speaker and has a large network of senior industry contacts.
Nigel Brazier has 30 years of experience in the mortgage finance market (where he held senior leadership positions at GE Mortgage, Select Portfolio Services (Fairbanks Capital), Fannie Mae and Vantium Capital) and has had positions in finance, mergers & acquisitions, risk management and operations management (much of which while he was at GE for 12 years). Nigel has deployed his finance, risk and operations management experience as a consultant. His consulting engagements have focused on mortgage servicing issues (including consulting on default activities, loss mitigation, OCC consent orders, MSR strategy & acquisition, litigation support). Nigel joined Hilltop Advisors in 2014.
Don Davis has 35+ years in mortgage loan servicing and specializes in the Default servicing area. Don has specific claims expertise and understands the allowable fees/costs that can be claimed. He has servicing regulatory compliance given his involvement with the OCC Consent Order work plus other compliance related litigation work. Don has had senior positions at Wells Fargo, 1st Nationwide, Foster Mortgage and Ben Franklin Savings. He has been involved with servicing technology providers for residential and multifamily customers. Don has significant experience with making/recovering servicing advances and minimizing partial or full foreclosure claim denials. Don joined Hilltop Advisors in 2013.
Troy Knowlton joined Hilltop Advisors in 2014. He has over 20 years of experience in the Financial Services Industry with particular focus on the GSEs. Troy was with Fannie Mae’s National Servicing Organization, Single Family Finance and Data Warehousing groups. Troy brings a broad skill set with an emphasis on databases, leveraging data and analysis, using tools to assess the data integrity and ensuring that the data and analyses completed meet the business needs. Troy has extensive project management experience and has led several large projects. Troy has strong risk assessment capabilities, understands the importance of controls, knows how to implement and test remediation processes.
Manny Lakshman has over 30 years of experience in the financial industry and has provided consulting and audit guidance on risk management and regulatory compliance to many financial institutions. Manny has many perspectives having been a bank examiner, a compliance consultant and a financial services entity employee. Manny has designed and reviewed policies, procedures and processes associated with all aspects of a financial services company’s compliance with regulations including the oversight of the entity’s vendors’ compliance. He has performed “mock exam” reviews of the prevailing lener/server policies. Manny has consulted banks, mortgage lenders, mortgage servicers, Community Development Corporations (SBA Programs) and others relating to bank and non-bank regulatory requirements. Manny reviewed existing processes and procedures of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to improve compliance audit efforts. He designed working questionnaires for the regulatory agency examiners to assist them in the evaluation of Credit Unions compliance process, procedures and practice. He was a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) examiner for banks and non-bank financial services companies to assess factors and causes of unsafe and unsound practices including violations of laws and regulations. At the FDIC, Manny developed policies and guidelines in accordance for FDIC’s Risk Sharing Asset Management Policies and Goals. He analyzed non-performing residential and commercial loan workouts, foreclosures, sales auctions, discharge and charge-off loans to ensure that the losses incurred under the Risk-Sharing program were appropriate. He was also involved in many bank closures and was responsible for operations, asset assessment and sale thereof. Manny has been involved in conducting forensic activities and fraud investigations of financial irregularities. He has extensive experience with investigation of evidence of fraud through Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR’s) and other available evidence. Manny has reviewed safe practices and compliance with AML/BSA Acts for many banks and other financial services entities.
Tim McDaniel, CPA is a seasoned professional with experience in public accounting, internal audit and consulting engagements. He has strong industry experience as follows: mortgage banking, capital markets, broker dealers among others. Tim has been a project manager for large compliance, SOX, operational projects that included process improvement, process mapping, controls and compliance assessments, risk assessment, due diligence, forensic accounting, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, etc. Tim performed comprehensive regulatory audits of mortgage servicing operations and servicer default compliance for the Making Home Affordable Program’s top nine servicers (multi-year engagement). Tim was responsible for audit planning, fieldwork and reporting of findings and observations for the MHA project to the U.S. Treasury Department. Tim was involved with Freddie Mac’s Internal Control Office in performing walk-throughs, documenting process & procedures, developing test scripts and performing SOX 404. Tim also performed as interim assistant to the Controller for Freddie Mac’s Investment & Capital Markets division where he was responsible for preparation of the quarterly documentation for Investment & Capital Market’s business processes and SOX compliance activities (management assertions). He has performed business acquisitions and reviewed variable interest entities at Municipal Mortgage and Equity, LLC for purpose of proper application of accounting principles including FIN 46, FAS 140, APB 18, ARB 51 and various EITF issues. He led the financial restatement of RG Premier Bank and RG Mortgage. Tim has been responsible for managing financial and operational reviews of companies to assess business process improvement opportunities, especially with respect to financial functions – accounting, reporting, controls, compliance, special regulatory reports, etc.
Dan McLaughlin was a founder of MERS and was the architect of the MERS® System, the MERS® Commercial System and the MERS® eRegistry. He has been redesigning business processes and integrating new technologies in the mortgage banking industry for more than 30 years at MERS, banks, mortgage lenders, etc. He has extensive knowledge of loan recordation requirements, eMortgage concepts, eNote adoption strategies and developing and operating mortgage loan registries. Dan leads Hilltop’s data solutions efforts (data integrity, privacy compliance, security/cyber security), IT general and application controls assessments and managing application implementations (lending, secondary, servicing, accounting and other applications). Dan joined Hilltop Advisors in 2015.
John Mendonca joined Hilltop Advisors in April 2014 as a Managing Director. He is a retired KPMG audit partner who has practiced accounting and auditing for more than 37 years. His experience includes providing financial statement audits, audits of internal controls, initial public offerings, performing fraud assessments, and due diligence services. His clients have included real estate, technology, services and manufacturing companies on a global basis. John leads the client engagements for our accounting practice (Hilltop Accounting). John provides technical guidance on accounting and audit matters. He assists with all specialty audit services, fraud assessments, litigation support and special accounting/audit projects (temporary CFO efforts, forensic projects, investigations, etc.).
Patricia Venn, CPA is a Director with Hilltop Advisors, LLC. She has spent most of her career working in the financial services industry and has extensive experience in all facets of the primary and secondary mortgage markets. Her core skills include operational consulting, compliance assessments, transaction assessments, auditing, accounting and designing/implementing/testing internal controls solutions for new policies/processes and technology implementations. Specific engagement experience includes assessing/modifying/remediating issues in the loan origination process area, new technology applications, capital markets/securitization processes, investor payments and reporting, securities accounting and reconciliation/investor reporting, mortgage servicing (primary, special, master servicer experience) processes, mortgage origination and servicing regulatory compliance, compliance with investor requirements including PSAs, identifying business requirements design and implementation, Multifamily operations and loan servicing for one of the GSEs, credit risk management counterparty risk management assessments. As a CPA, Pat has extensive experience in the finance, accounting, auditing and the specialty audit arena (M&A, fraud, compliance audits and internal controls). She held various positions including Chief Financial Officer for various companies, was a Manager in a public accounting firm, worked in Internal Audit at Fannie Mae and held various accounting positions in large private companies.
Lisa Watson is a Senior Manager in our accounting and compliance audit practice and has performed in the following areas: internal audit, internal controls, budgets, finance, contract accounting, supply chain management, litigation support and grant management consulting work. She has extensive experience working with the U.S. Federal Government. Engagements include providing audit remediation support to the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) related to establishing accrual and validation methodologies for the thousands of Public Housing Agencies funded by the U.S. government. Her experience includes developing audit programs in accordance with Government Auditing Standards, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Federal Accounting Standards, as applicable, and in accordance with Government Auditing Standards, Financial Audit Manual, and OMB Circulars to ensure compliance with all applicable terms, laws and regulations of all Federal, State, and Local government agencies. She has conducted A-123 Internal Control audits and A-133 or Single Audits. As the Manager of Compliance and Internal Audit, Lisa has developed a risk assessment model for preparing the annual audit plan. She developed standard audit procedures for validating and evaluating distributors/vendors compliance with contract terms to ensure consistent, thorough and fair reviews of vendors. As the Deputy Director of Fiscal Compliance at the Legal Services Corporation, Watson led an Office of Compliance & Enforcement team in developing processes and procedures for reviewing and identifying waste, fraud, and abuse of federal funds.
Hilltop also has a number of Subject Matter and Marketing Consultants who assist Hilltop at various times to meet our client needs:
Iliana Ghanem is in mortgage finance business and is an expert on the GSE operations. She has created, built, and led high performing customer facing marketing organizations, led the design and implementation of complex strategic initiatives. Iliana was a Freddie Mac Vice President of sales for all customer segments in the Single Family business for 23 years. Her role involved managing market share, profitability, resource management, and operating costs for the sales area.
Robert Hunter is the Principal of Shannon Hunter Consultants and has collaborated with Hilltop on numerous occasions. He has a deep credit risk management and credit governance background. He has written many policies and processes. Bob has revised loan loss reserve methodology, recommended loan administration changes, analyzed and revised portfolio credit scoring models. Bob has been a litigation expert to critique loan underwriting and credit policy compliance. He has assessed the Quality Control effectiveness of mortgage lenders and identified compliance exceptions. Bob is an industry leader given the experience with the secondary market operations, valuations, reps and warranty violations, credit analytics and loss modeling.
Alta Jones has over 30 years of experience as a CFO and Controller of major mortgage lending/servicing companies like RFC Capital Markets, Norwest Mortgage (now Wells Fargo), and Dominion Bancshares. She has extensive financial management and reporting experience, including the system tools that can be used to facilitate such. Alta has participated in strategy, M&A, corporate financial planning, budgeting, and has been the project manager for many process and system change efforts at her various employers.
Stephen McGurl is the Principal of McGurl Risk Advisors, LLC and has been a Managing Director of Hilltop Advisors. During his 29 years in the mortgage industry, Mr. McGurl has been involved as a subject matter expert in several systems replacement and transformation initiatives and has driven innovation from the business operations perspective. He has extensive experience in all mortgage industry business processes – origination, secondary marketing and servicing. He has also been heavily involved in the regulatory compliance aspects of the mortgage business. He is the owner and lead consultant on numerous compliance engagements related to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reviews, Mortgage Quality Control reviews, Customer Tax Document policy & procedure reviews and Servicing File Transfer reviews.
George Schwartz has over 25 years of mortgage loan servicing as both a primary servicer and subservicer. George has had senior positions at Countrywide, Cenlar, Fannie Mae and ServiceLink. He has extensive experience in all areas of the servicing business – customer facing, investor reporting and accounting, default, REO and regulatory/investor compliance. George also has extensive due diligence experience on corporate entities, servicing platforms and MSRs being purchased. George has strong ties to all aspects of the loan servicing business – investors, technology providers, outsourcing vendors, and has specifically assisted in selecting, establishing vendor service levels and oversight of vendors (which is a growing requirement of the CFPB and other regulators).