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Partner Spotlight: Esusu and U.S. Bank

Committed to equitable, sustainable housing access

We developed our Business Partner Code of Conduct to clearly convey the principles we expect our Fannie Mae business partners to uphold in the areas of ethical business practices, diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and equitable housing access. Today, we spotlight two business partners, Esusu and U.S. Bank, who embody these principles in their commitment to more equitable and sustainable access to housing.

Empowering renters through purposeful partnerships

Fannie Mae delivers innovative solutions to help create more opportunities for people with little-to-no credit histories, and we work with partners who share our goals to drive positive industry change. Through our Multifamily Positive Rent Payment pilot and the positive rent payment history enhancement in our automated underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter® (DU®), we've made it possible to use on-time rent payments to help renters build credit and help first-time homebuyers qualify for a home loan.

Wemimo Abbey QuoteFounded in 2018, Esusu works to increase equitable financial access for everyone — especially those who lack a credit history.

"Where you come from, the color of your skin, and particularly your lack of financial identity, shouldn't determine where you end up," says co-founder and co-CEO Wemimo Abbey. "That's what really gave us the inspiration to start Esusu."

As a key partner in Fannie Mae's Multifamily Positive Rent Payment pilot, Esusu helps renters establish and increase their credit scores, eventually resulting in greater financial stability and wealth building. More than 240,000 renters now have their monthly rent payments reported — notably, this includes only positive payments, not missed payments, so renters' credit scores will not be negatively impacted.

By building credit in this way, many renters may go on to qualify for a mortgage to buy their own home. That's where U.S. Bank comes in.

As a top mortgage lender in the United States, U.S. Bank relies on Fannie Mae's DU to determine a borrower's eligibility for a mortgage loan. Our recent enhancement to DU now makes it easier for lenders, like U.S. Bank, to consider a borrower's consistent rent payments when assessing credit eligibility.

"When Fannie Mae developed the [positive rent history] enhancement, we were excited to roll it out," says Tom Wind, U.S. Bank's EVP of Consumer Lending. "For a lot of renters, the missing part of the equation is the documentation of rent history to show they can afford that payment."

Tom Wind QuoteThis additional data helps U.S. Bank identify more qualified borrowers for mortgages, which Wind describes as a win for everyone — the new homeowners, the community, and the bank. "It's also so motivating to our team," he adds. "They're celebrating the fact that someone has become a homeowner. That fulfills our purpose."

Esusu's Abbey believes that addressing the housing gap requires more partnerships among similarly aligned organizations, like their partnership with Fannie Mae. The people at Fannie Mae, he says, "have a head for business and a heart for the world."

"The key for us," Wind says, "is the realization that we're not trying to do this by ourselves. We have partners like Fannie Mae and community partners. When we work together, we can accomplish so much more than we could on our own."

Fulfilling our commitment

Business partners like Esusu and U.S. Bank provide great examples of organizations that embody many of the core principles articulated in Fannie Mae's Code of Conduct. And these partnerships have already helped thousands of renters establish or improve their credit scores, with many of them going on to own homes of their own.

As Wind explains, "With a lot of hard work, with engagement in communities, and with tools like positive rent payment history, we are making a difference."

Learn more about our Business Partner Code of Conduct.