businessTop 100

Fannie Mae takes pride in its mission, and its workers feel rewarded

This two-time Top 100 winner has been in the top three among large company winners both years.


SPECIAL AWARD: Best Managers

The past year was about as challenging as it could get for Fannie Mae, given its mission of helping homeowners and renters stay in their homes, assisting lenders and borrowers, and stabilizing the U.S. housing market.

“The workload was extraordinary,” said Hugh Frater, CEO of the publicly held mortgage lending company based in Washington, D.C. “In dollar terms, 2020 was our biggest volume year.”

But it was also one of the company’s most rewarding, he said. His troops stepped up, helping others stay in their homes and keep money in their pockets.

“This was all done as our own families dealt with the stress and terrifying unknowns of COVID-19. I’ve never been prouder of the people at this company.”

Pride of mission and sense of achievement were key to why Fannie Mae’s 1,382 D-FW workers say they love their jobs. Their enthusiastic responses ranked Fannie Mae No. 2 among our large employers.

“Every day I get to work toward the goal of helping people have access to affordable and sustainable housing, no matter where they live, the color of their skin or their social status,” said one D-FW worker.

“I’ve worked at many noteworthy and reputable Fortune 500 companies, but never before have I been touched by a company’s mission as I have at Fannie Mae.”

Employee responses also earned Fannie Mae our special award for best managers. Fannie Maers are downright effusive when asked how managers made it easier to do their jobs.

“I am part of a team that supports and works collaboratively to fulfill our mission,” said one D-FW employee. “My manager does an outstanding job on including his team and spotlighting the talent who does the day-to-day work.”

“Provides great coaching and feedback,” said another. “Helps knock down obstacles — especially external ones — when trying to accomplish a project. Acts as an advocate in order for me to advance in my career.

“Obviously, I have to hold up my end and deliver strong performance, but when recognition and advocacy follow, it’s easy to stay motivated and keep pushing to deliver strong results.”

“He is the best manager. Fun and honest.”

“They provide real-time feedback, guidance/advice and do not hesitate to lend a hand when help is needed.”

Fannie Mae wants to support neighborhoods and communities in other ways.

Full-time, eligible employees can use 10 hours each month for volunteer leave or travel for a week to participate in disaster response work or join its annual 7 Days to Serve effort by volunteering at a charity or nonprofit.

The company has used technology to keep its employees engaged, hosting virtual town halls and sharing a weekly video blog from Frater to keep folks connected.

Racial equality has never been more important, said Frater, who took over as CEO a year before the pandemic took root.

“I think a lot of people felt worse than they had ever felt in their lives during 2020,” Frater said. “To the already challenging backdrop of a global pandemic, you add George Floyd’s death, the Atlanta spa shootings and the many similar incidents of abuse and brutality affecting Black people and other people of color, and it was a really tough year for many people, especially at a company with a workforce as diverse as Fannie Mae’s.”

Employees expanded his understanding of racial bias, especially as it relates to racist housing policies and practices, Frater said. “Last summer, I pledged that we are committed to supporting a housing finance system that advances systemic racial equity. And I know every Fannie Mae employee also stands behind that pledge.

“We’ve had — and continue to have — these tough conversations around how our industry needs to look more like the people it’s supposed to serve. We believe that if it does, it will help with some of the issues around housing access.”

Frater says he’s proud to lead a company with a “social mission rooted in equal opportunity, respect, diversity and inclusion. And we remain diligent in finding ways to make sure we are leading with those principles and creating an environment where we listen, lead and strengthen, both within our company and in our contributions to a safe and sound housing sector.”

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