David Brickman has vacated his role as executive chairman of Meridian Capital Group, which is under investigation by Freddie Mac, where he previously served as CEO.
Brickman joined Ralph Herzka’s Meridian in 2021 to help launch the firm’s lending affiliate, NewPoint Real Estate. But the mortgage executive has walked away and scrubbed mentions of his involvement with Meridian on several online profiles.
A spokesperson for NewPoint confirmed Brickman is no longer executive chairman and said it was a “long-planned change that was recently formalized,” but declined to elaborate on the exact timing.
On Friday, Freddie Mac informed its lending servicers that the agency had placed a ban on originators doing deals through Meridian as it investigates issues surrounding a loan it brokered.
A spokesperson for Meridian declined to comment on the change in Brickman’s job status.
Sources close to both companies said that, practically speaking, Brickman never really did anything at Meridian as an executive chairman. The title was given to him as he worked to launch Newpoint, but he never performed any of the advisory or oversight roles at Herzka’s brokerage that are typically done by executive chairs.
Still, the timeline of the change is curious and poses a possibility that Brickman moved to distance himself from Meridian as Freddie began investigating the firm. Brickman had a profile page on Meridian’s website listing him as executive chairman as recently as August 6, according to the last time the site was captured on the Wayback Machine.
It makes for an awkward situation for Brickman, who spent more than 20 years at Freddie Mac and was credited with developing one of the agency’s most innovative and successful financial programs.
Brickman rose through the ranks of the quasi-governmental agency over two decades and took on the CEO role in 2019. But Freddie and its sister agency Fannie Mae had long griped about being under conservatorship by the Federal government since the Global Financial Crisis. And after the Trump administration’s efforts to end Washington’s ownership of the agencies sputtered out, Brickman announced he would leave Freddie in 2020.
The following year he started a new multifamily lending company, NewPoint Real Estate, which was backed by Herzka’s Meridian and massive asset manager Barings. The new entity holds a license to originate loans for Freddie Mac.
Meridian, meanwhile, has been the largest Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae broker for the past seven years, according to the Commercial Observer. On Tuesday, Fannie told lenders that any loan done through a broker would require an extra level of review, CO reported. The move signals that there could be broader investigations into fraud on brokered deals.