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ESG Social

At Fannie Mae, we are dedicated to improving access to the social benefits of affordable homes and rentals for families across the country. To do so means expanding access to reliable homebuying and renting resources to help an increasingly diverse generation of homebuyers and renters make informed decisions.

Social responsibility also means fostering an inclusive workforce and industry that better reflects the diversity of the people it  serves. Our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) helps us deliver on our enduring mission.

On this page:

Housing affordability 

We proudly work to ensure that safe, affordable homes are accessible to very low-, low-*, and moderate-income individuals and families. This work is not just an important part of Fannie Mae’s mission — it is what we were chartered to do. We design our underwriting standards, credit policies, and business practices to help ensure the safety and soundness of mortgage financing. We explore ways to increase the supply of affordable homes and rentals through efforts such as expanding financing options for manufactured housing  and rehabilitating our real estate owned (REO) properties. This exploration, along with our work with industry partners, allows us to continue providing pathways to affordable homes.

True to our Charter to serve all areas of housing, our Duty to Serve initiative brings innovative mortgage financing solutions to the country’s key overlooked markets — manufactured housing, preservation of affordable housing, and rural housing. Since launching our Duty to Serve efforts in 2018, we have provided $72.1 billion total liquidity to these underserved market segments, resulting in 124,806 home loans purchased and 557,783 multifamily units financed.**

Single-family

Single-family

Our affordable Single-Family products include HomeReady® , HFA Preferred™, Community Seconds® , and MH Advantage®. In 2020, we helped finance approximately 350,000 mortgages for low-income families and 94,000 mortgages for very low-income families. Additionally, we helped finance roughly 660,000 first-time homebuyer mortgages — more than half of all our home-purchase mortgage acquisitions.

We provide homebuyer education as part of the loan application process to help buyers successfully purchase and own their homes. Comprehensive information about renting, selling, buying, refinancing, and avoiding foreclosure is accessible at KnowYourOptions.com , our online consumer portal. In 2020, over 260,000 borrowers with Fannie Mae-owned loans received homebuyer education.

Multifamily

Multifamily

Our Multifamily financing solutions feature a variety of products and programs, including Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), Healthy Housing Rewards™, Sponsor-Initiated Affordability (SIA), and many others. Our LIHTC program helps develop affordable rental housing by offsetting project costs with equity instead of more expensive debt. Since 2018, Fannie Mae has invested $1.6 billion to create or rehabilitate more than 44,000 units of affordable rentals to low-income families across 47 states and DC.

In 2020 alone, we provided $76 billion in financing to the multifamily market. Within that, we helped finance approximately 440,000 rental units affordable to low-income families and 95,000 units affordable to very-low income families.

*Very low-income families, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are families with income no higher than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI). Low-income families are defined as those with income no higher than 80% of AMI.

**Totals reflect 2018 – Q3 2020. Fannie Mae’s 2020 results are in the process of being validated and may be updated after validation.

Housing stability

Housing stability 

Fannie Mae knows first-hand the foundational and transformative power of affordable and stable housing for individuals, families, and communities. When the stability of housing is threatened, whether by a natural disaster, a global pandemic or a change in personal circumstances, we want homeowners and renters to have the support and assistance they need to overcome an unforeseen crisis or life event.

Fannie Mae’s Know Your Options (KYO) website is a trusted one-stop destination for homeowners, homebuyers, and renters. Visitors can access reliable information, educational resources, and guidance — whether navigating disaster relief, or at any stage in a person’s or family’s housing journey. Homeowners seeking ways to stay in their homes when adverse events affect their ability to keep up mortgage payments can find detailed information about forbearance and other options to help avoid foreclosure. Renters can also find assistance and guidance on renter protections and relief programs during difficult times.

Our COVID-19 response

In 2020, Fannie Mae’s expansive efforts helped support borrowers, homeowners, renters, lenders, and servicers financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Remaining steadfastly focused on our mission, our efforts helped stabilize the housing finance market, and our outreach helped millions of homeowners and renters stay in their homes during an unprecedented crisis. Some highlights include:

  • Meeting the challenge of foreclosure prevention. With the help of our servicers, 1.3 million single-family loans and $5.3 billion in multifamily loans (unpaid balance) received a COVID-19-hardship-related forbearance. With this option, homeowners work on an agreement with their mortgage company to temporarily suspend or reduce their monthly mortgage payments for a specific period of time. This option helps the individual fix short-term financial problems by giving them time to get back on their feet and bring their mortgage current.
  • Creating the COVID-19 payment deferral, a new workout option specifically designed to help borrowers impacted by a hardship related to COVID-19 return their mortgage to a current status after up to 12 months of missed payments.
  • Launching Here to Help, our largest direct-to-consumer marketing campaign, which ensured that homeowners and renters, as well as lenders, servicers, and property managers, had the latest information, policy updates, and relief options. Through this effort:
    • Almost 3.5 million people visited our updated KnowYourOptions site to find information on homeowner and renter assistance programs.
    • More than 15,000 consumers took advantage of counseling sessions through the Disaster Response Network.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion 

We recognize that we can best fulfill our mission when we foster an inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of our nation and the communities we serve. Our continued commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) can be seen in the many internal and external initiatives that make DE&I a centerpiece of life at Fannie Mae.

*As of December 31, 2020

Recognizing the importance of DE&I, we're committed to expanding opportunities for our employees, suppliers, vendors, and business partners. Working toward broadening and deepening inclusion in our own workforce as well as in the industry will help us serve a diverse generation of renters and homebuyers. We value different perspectives and experiences to help us develop innovative solutions for a changing housing, finance, and technology landscape. We do business with a diverse group of suppliers. We actively collaborate with industry partners to drive progress toward a more equitable and diverse housing industry that reflects the market it serves and drives positive change.

We’ve established programs and partnerships to help advance industry diversity:

  • ACCESS® provides opportunities for diverse-owned broker dealer firms to distribute our fixed-income securities to the capital markets. ACCESS dealers participated in every Benchmark Notes® issuance, GeMS™ deal, Connecticut Avenue Securities® transaction, and Multifamily Connecticut Avenue Securities™ transaction in 2020.
  • Appraiser Diversity Pipeline Initiative helps increase diversity in the real estate appraisal field. We’ve partnered with the National Urban League and Appraisal Institute to attract diverse entrants to residential appraising opportunities.
  • Future Housing Leaders® helps create a pipeline of diverse talent for the housing industry by connecting college students from historically underrepresented groups to paid summer internships and early career opportunities in housing.
ESG Social Promoting Diversity

We actively collaborate with industry partners to drive progress toward a more equitable and diverse housing industry.​

Racial Equity

Racial Equity 

At Fannie Mae, we’re leveraging our unique position to make the housing finance system more racially equitable and accessible for current and aspiring homeowners and renters. In addition to overseeing the development of our enterprise ESG strategy and integrating it into our business, our Community Responsibility and Sustainability Committee of our Board of Directors also leads the development of industry solutions to increase access to housing for people of color, address systemic bias in housing, and promote sustainable homeownership for people of color. We are intentionally addressing issues that have disproportionately impacted people of color as we work to find new ways to broaden and deepen inclusion policies and initiatives for current and aspiring homeowners.

The following are examples of work underway supporting these goals:

  • RefiNow™ makes it easier for eligible current homeowners earning at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) to refinance at a lower interest rate and reduce their monthly mortgage payment. Recognizing that lower-income borrowers typically refinance at a slower pace than higher-income borrowers, potentially missing an opportunity to save on housing costs, RefiNow lowers some of the barriers to refinancing. RefiNow assures homeowners benefit from the refinance loan by requiring a reduction in the homeowner’s interest rate by a minimum of 50 basis points and a reduction of at least $50 in the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment. FHFA estimates that borrowers who take advantage of the new refinance option could save an average of between $100 and $250 per month (based on prevailing market interest rates).
  • Your Own Story website provides accessible, interactive resources that demystify the homebuying process by providing consumers with facts and figures about what it takes to achieve sustainable homeownership. “Your Own Story” breaks down the path to homeownership in seven interactive steps, including the basic requirements necessary to qualify for a mortgage, factors to consider when choosing a home, and the responsibilities of homeownership. These resources give future homeowners the tools they need to take the first steps in their homebuying journey.
  • Incorporating rent payment history in credit evaluations is a recent update to our automated underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter®. It allows lenders to consider a history of recurring rent payments in assessing eligibility. Approximately 20% of the U.S. population overall has little established credit history — a group in which Black and Hispanic consumers are disproportionately represented. Additionally, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey® found that Black consumers identify insufficient credit score or credit history as their single biggest obstacle to getting a mortgage and do so at a much higher rate compared to white consumers (29% to 18%). This one step is creating a more inclusive mortgage credit evaluation process for all prospective first-time homebuyers.
  • Established a new senior leadership role to drive equity in housing. This leader focuses on addressing the toughest systemic challenges around homeownership and wealth in communities of color.

Human Capital Development 

Our employees are key to ensuring our long-term success. We invest in our employees’ development to support the success of the company as well as our employees. We seek to provide training and opportunities that enable employees to develop the critical skills we need to achieve our strategy and fulfill our mission. We monitor employee engagement through regular surveys. In 2020, the vast majority of our employees agreed that they would recommend Fannie Mae as a great place to work, which we consider to be a strong indicator of their engagement. We believe our ability to recruit and retain employees and keep them engaged is influenced by the opportunity to do interesting work that supports our mission.

ESG Social Community Engagement

 

In 2021, our annual enterprise-wide week of volunteer service was expanded to a month-long event.

 

Employee volunteerism 

Fannie Mae has a longstanding tradition of employee and management volunteer service and charitable contributions. Our SERVE (Serving, Engaged, Ready to Volunteer Employees) Initiative is an umbrella of programs that provides employees volunteer opportunities with a wide range of community-based organizations. We provide 10 hours of paid volunteer leave per month to enable them to give back to the community.

In 2020, communities nationwide faced challenges made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Working virtually, our employees contributed their time, talent, and resources to participate in volunteer efforts with nonprofit organizations that aligned with their interests. At company-sponsored virtual events, over 2,500 employees volunteered nearly 8,000 hours. Additionally, through our matching gifts program, Fannie Mae collectively donated approximately $4 million to eligible nonprofit organizations.

2020 Social Impact

See Fannie Mae’s 2020 Year-End Results/Annual Report on Form 10-K and the 2020 Annual Housing Activities Report.