Government Lending

Fannie Mae announces first chief diversity and inclusion officer

Sharifa Anderson spent seven years at Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh

Fannie Mae has appointed Sharifa Anderson to fill the newly created role of senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Effective Feb. 28, Anderson, who recently served as the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, will lead Fannie’s efforts to create positive diversity and inclusion outcomes across the enterprise as well as with the enterprise’s suppliers, business partners, and the people and communities it serves, the government-sponsored enterprise said.

Fannie said in a press release on Monday that the creation of this role cements its commitment to enabling opportunities for minority and women-owned firms in capital markets and fostering an inclusive workplace.

“Sharifa will play an important role in helping us achieve our strategic priorities as we work with industry partners to foster greater representation of people of color and women throughout the housing industry,” said Hugh Frater, CEO at Fannie Mae. 

Prior to her seven-year stint at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, from 2013 to 2014 Anderson worked as an attorney at Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, specializing in fair lending counseling and compliance. Before that, she worked at Ballard Spahr in public finance and housing.

It will not be her first time at Fannie Mae. Anderson, who has had a variety of roles in housing for over two decades, was a senior business manager at Fannie Mae from 2003 to 2007. She also briefly worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel, from 2010 to 2011.

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Anderson, in a statement, said that she is energized to be returning to the mortgage giant “during this pivotal time in the housing industry.”

 “I look forward to working alongside Fannie Mae’s leadership team to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and a housing industry that shares Fannie Mae’s mission to facilitate equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and rental housing across the country,” she said.

In recent years, both of the government sponsored enterprises have stepped up efforts to improve diversity in their staffs, boards and suppliers. Freddie Mac, which has had a chief diversity and inclusion officer position since at least 2018, last year appointed Dionne Wallace Oakley to serve in the role.

But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the larger mortgage industry, continue to wrestle with diversity. A 2020 report from the Government Accountability Office found that female directors held leadership positions on the enterprises’ boards for the first time in 2019.

The report noted that the Federal Housing Finance Agency has annual examinations of the enterprises’ diversity and inclusion efforts, reviewing their strategic planning and associated goals for diversity and inclusion.

In one of those exams, in 2017, the FHFA found that the enterprises had taken steps to
promote and maintain diversity, but had not fully implemented diversity requirements dating from 2010.

The FHFA wrote that during the examination, its officials discussed with both enterprises the need to treat diversity and inclusion as an enterprise-level program, “not just an addition to their human resources efforts.”

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