I love the beginning of the year when everything and anything seems possible. Of course, as we’ve all learned over nearly two years of the pandemic, sometimes “anything” can really come out of left field and change the whole game. And so here we are, on the precipice of another new year, with another new variant making headlines. I keep swearing I’m going to retire the phrase “the new normal,” but how else to describe the time we’re living through?
At this time last year, I’d only been in my current role for a few whirlwind months. Now, with a full year under my belt in this seat and entering my 30th year at Fannie Mae, I have a better idea of what to expect from the year ahead.
More change. More opportunities. More wins.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know this: Whatever the year throws at us, we will adapt. After all these years, I know that we have the best financing platform, the best network of lenders, and the best internal teams and systems to meet your business needs. Add to that strong market fundamentals – low vacancy rates, high rent growth, and a lot of liquidity – and with that we are headed for an action-packed 2022. The new normal seems to be pretty dynamic, and we are ready.
But before we get into that, thank you for your steadfast partnership. Last year, we financed thousands of rental homes for families in every market across the country. The work we do is so much more than numbers on a spreadsheet or data in the cloud. It’s how we deliver on the hopes and dreams of people seeking an affordable, safe, sustainable place to call home. I keep that in mind every day.
We are maintaining our focus on critical goals in 2022 and pursuing some lofty initiatives to have even more impact.
1. We will lean in on mission business.
Our regulator has increased our Housing Goals, raised our cap from $70 billion to $78 billion, boosted our target for 60% AMI business from 20% to 25%, and expanded certain definitions of multifamily “mission-driven” affordable housing. These changes increase our contribution to loans in cost-burdened markets and reconfirm our commitment to deeply affordable units and green enhancements. We also hope to expand usage of Sponsor-Initiated Affordability (SIA), which has the potential to help us create more naturally occurring affordable supply by incentivizing borrowers to maintain affordability for the life of the loan.
2. We will continue to optimize our portfolio.
Meeting our ambitious mission goals while maintaining our credit standards will require careful calibration. Our customer engagement, credit, and capital markets teams are up to the challenge. Mission business is the reason we exist, but a balanced portfolio is key to long-term sustainability.
3. We will protect the health of the DUS® platform.
The pandemic has provided yet another proof point for the resilience of The Loan We All Own. We’re entering this period of recovery with a multifamily SDQ rate of 41 bps (0.41%) as of November 2021. Over three-quarters of the multifamily loans in our book that had received a forbearance had reinstated or were on a repayment plan as of September 30, 2021. That’s a testament to our strong partnership and the robustness of our risk-sharing model.
4. We will deliver on digital transformation.
Through our partnership with the DUS Technology and Innovation Subcommittee, we target our technology investments on projects that will make it easier to do business with us, maximizing efficiency and delivering the tools that you need. In 2022, you’ll see us continue to focus on automation, data, expanding our rent roll digitization effort, and beginning the journey to transform our committing and acquisitions processes.
5. We will focus on our people.
Having the right people in the right places to execute our business is fundamental to our success. The health of our organization and the dedication of our people is essential to the success of our business, and my leadership team is committed to balancing resources appropriately and developing a strong bench to shepherd DUS into the future.
Fannie Mae also has an enhanced focus on renters and homeowners this year. The Multifamily business has long been engaged in expanding the supply of affordable rental homes as part of our mission. In the new year, we will also empower renters to know their options and develop some end-to-end consumer-focused tools and resources to help renters be more confident at all points of the rental experience.
It’s a privilege to work with all of you and lead the Multifamily team. As I said in my video message, I hope that the world opens back up and I get to see many of you in the new year. Until then, take care.