Statement by Fannie Mae CEO Hugh R. Frater
George Floyd’s death, and the many similar incidents of abuse and brutality affecting Black people and other people of color, underscore the need for self-reflection by both individuals and institutions in our country. Fannie Mae understands the story of housing in America includes a history of systemic racism. Our role in housing finance brings important responsibilities. We are committed to doing all that we can to support a housing finance system that is free of racism, while also recognizing that Black people and other people of color all too frequently continue to suffer from racist housing policies and practices. We look forward to partnering with those across the housing sector who have the commitment, resources, and energy to make lasting change.
Fairness and equality of opportunity are central to Fannie Mae’s affordable housing mission, and respect, diversity, and inclusion are cornerstones of our culture. On behalf of Fannie Mae, I pledge that we will continue to ask how our actions as a company do or do not live up to these values. We affirm our commitment to racial justice and inclusion. We are also humble enough to know that we can do more. And we will.
I also want to share a message that Fannie Mae President David Benson and I sent to employees on May 29, 2020.
Message from Hugh Frater, CEO, and Dave Benson, President
May 29, 2020
Over the past few days, the sadness of this moment in our history has become even sadder. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic bringing death to hundreds of thousands, the world is now witness to the terrible images surrounding the death of George Floyd, and related protests in Minneapolis and other cities across the country.
Our sadness today is not just for the Floyd family but for our larger human family. So many of the pictures we’ve seen this week – and in other recent weeks – are hard to watch. They are shocking. In many cases, they starkly underscore the cruelty of individual acts of hatred and the consequences of indifference to racism in too many parts of our society. More broadly, this week reminds us again of the distance between the American ideals we aspire to, and the daily realities of life for too many Americans, especially people of color.
We are fortunate to work at a company with a social mission rooted in fair and equal opportunity, respect, diversity, and inclusion. But we need to be honest about the disparities we know exist in our society, and diligent in continually finding ways to ensure that the values we espouse come to life in our workplace.
Like many things, this is especially challenging while we’re working remotely, but there are tools that can help. These include many training opportunities (including about issues in Our Code), our Courageous Conversations series that provide a safe space for discussion, counseling resources available through our Employee Assistance Program, and the many activities and programs of our Employee Resources Groups (ERGs), including the African Ancestry Business Leaders for Excellence (ABLE) ERG.
We have discussed this week’s events with the other leaders on the Management Committee. We are united in our commitment to the hard work of not just opposing overt acts of racism, but of using this time to proactively advance diversity and inclusion within Fannie Mae. We also recognize that while the events in Minneapolis shock the consciences of all, they touch our African American employees in particular and painful ways.
For now, we must continue to be distant from our offices. But let’s use this period to grow closer as a community and to live our values to their fullest. These times are hard. But let them steel us to meet the great challenges of this moment.
Hugh & Dave