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Fannie Mae CEO Frater to Retire, Board Chair Bair Resigns

Fannie Mae has announced that CEO Hugh R. Frater announced his decision to retire and resign from the Board, to be replaced on an interim basis by current President David C. Benson in the role of Interim CEO and Board member, effective May 1, 2022, subject to final Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) approval.

Fannie Mae Board Chair Sheila C. Bair has also announced her decision to resign from her position, as of May 1, 2022. Michael J. Heid was unanimously elected to succeed her in her role as Board Chair.

“Sheila has distinguished herself by her hard work, intelligence and above all else her passion for Fannie Mae’s important mission. We thank her for her dedicated service and wish her well in her future endeavors,” said Frater. “I also want to welcome Mike Heid as our new Chair and Dave Benson as my successor. Mike brings unrivaled knowledge of the mortgage markets, and commitment to our mission, vision, and leadership as we continue to provide equitable and sustainable access to affordable homeownership and rental housing. When I became CEO in 2019, I committed to the Board I would remain for three years, and it has been the privilege of a lifetime to lead this organization. Given the strides we have made on so many fronts, this is the right time to transition to a new CEO. Dave knows this company better than anyone else and will provide outstanding leadership, together with our new Board Chair Mike Heid, as the entire enterprise works together to build a more sustainable housing finance market that better serves people across America.”

The Board of Directors announced that it plans to conduct a national search for a permanent CEO.

In addition to his current role as President, Benson leads Fannie Mae’s Single-Family and Multifamily businesses, and will continue in that role. He has served in several executive positions during his 20 years at Fannie Mae, including EVP and CFO. He also serves on the Board of Managers of Common Securitization Solutions, a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac joint venture.

Bair is the former Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She joined Fannie Mae’s Board in August 2019, and was elected Chair in November of 2020.

“I’ve been privileged to serve this institution and its dedicated employees as we have remained relentlessly focused on the needs of homeowners and renters through a pandemic, tumultuous market conditions, and a transition in Administrations,” said Bair. “Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to meet the substantial time demands of this position while fulfilling my other Board and advisory responsibilities. I am very proud of this organization’s many innovations to promote sustainable homeownership, including streamlined refinancings for low-income households, use of rental data in underwriting, and a more progressive fee structure. I am deeply appreciative of Hugh Frater’s leadership over the past 3.5 years. He has provided stellar service and will be sorely missed. But Fannie Mae will be in good hands going forward. Mike Heid will be outstanding as the next Chair of Fannie Mae, as will Dave Benson as our interim CEO. Mike’s expertise in housing finance, combined with his leadership as Chair of the Community Responsibility and Sustainability Committee, make him the right person to continue and build on our mission work. And Dave’s steady hand will help guide the enterprise into the next chapter of its history, as we transition to new leadership to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

Heid served as EVP of Home Lending for Wells Fargo & Company from 1997 to his retirement in January 2016. He served in several positions at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the mortgage banking division of Wells Fargo, including as President from 2011 to September 2015, as Co-President from 2004 to 2011, and earlier as CFO, and Head of Loan Servicing. He also currently serves on the Board of Roosevelt Management Company and the Advisory Board for Home Partners of America and Promontory MortgagePath.

“I am honored to be selected as Chair of this outstanding Board and grateful to Sheila and Hugh for their phenomenal leadership during this unprecedented time,” said Heid. “This is a pivotal time for Fannie Mae, and I look forward to working with Dave, the exceptional Fannie Mae team, and with my colleagues on the Board in service of homeowners and renters across the country.”

Fannie Mae also announced the resignation of Antony Jenkins from the Board, effective May 1, 2022, who also cited time commitments as the reason for his departure. Jenkins is the Founder and Executive Chair of 10xFuture Technologies, after having served in top banking positions, including CEO of Barclays PLC. He joined Fannie Mae’s Board in July 2018.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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