Hello and Happy New Year! I am writing to you this morning from my favorite bakery in downtown Sioux Falls. While it is super cold outside, the coffee is hot and the donuts are amazing.
I wanted to take a few moments to reflect back on the past year in general for our Affordable Mission Business and share with you our specific New Year's resolutions for the Affordable Debt team in 2019.
To say that 2018 was a transitional year would be an understatement. We created a LIHTC equity investment business, built a new team to implement our Multifamily Duty to Serve plan, transformed our Green platform to become a fully integrated component of our overall business, and re-staffed our Affordable Debt team. All of these transitions were challenging, and I am proud of our team for their success in turning those challenges into opportunities. Because of their hard work, we were the first GSE to resume LIHTC equity investments and we increased our commitment to supporting underserved markets through our Duty to Serve requirements. We became the largest issuer of green bonds in the world, and we had another record year in the affordable debt business. These efforts built a very strong foundation for us to increase our commitment to our Affordable mission in 2019 and beyond.
I would like to make 3 simple commitments to you in 2019 for our Affordable debt business.
- We will move quickly. Thank you all for the honest feedback on our execution and for your patience as we rebuilt our Affordable credit and production teams. We know speed of execution is a key driver to winning business and it is our number one priority. With your help, our execution will be the quickest and most consistent in the market.
- We will think – and execute – outside the box. Innovation and flexibility are central to the success of our business. Our single asset MBS securitization model allows us to innovate and structure individual deals that best meet the unique needs of our borrowers. Expect that to continue in 2019.
We are also committed to providing innovative product enhancements that create, preserve, and improve the supply of affordable rental housing. In 2019, we will continue to make innovation a priority so that we can better support federal affordable programs and state and local affordable workforce housing initiatives, revitalize our nation's public housing stock, and further reduce the cost to finance and operate affordable housing properties.
- We will lead the market where it matters the most. In 2016, FHFA started tracking our affordable housing volumes based on a common "targeted affordable" definition. Since that time, no one has provided more secondary market financing for targeted affordable rental housing than Fannie Mae. We don't talk about that enough, but it is important that you know how proud we are of the market leadership that we have achieved together.
The standard we set for ourselves will always be much higher than simply financing the most properties. Our goal is to ensure that our investments make an impact and improve the lives of the people who live in the properties we finance. This is especially true for renters at the lowest end of the income spectrum who are most in need of affordable housing and we will continue to make serving this renter population a priority. We are proud to have an Affordable debt platform that will always begin with a capital "A".
These three resolutions will serve as our guide in 2019, but none of it will matter without your ongoing partnership, support, and feedback. As our partner, we succeed together. So please call me or the affordable leadership team directly whenever you have ideas for continued improvements or feel like we are not living up to these three commitments.
Well, my amazing donut has disappeared and it's time for me to grab one more cup of coffee before I brave the cold South Dakota winter.
Thank you so much for the extraordinary partnership that we have built and will continue to build in 2019.
Let's make good things happen.