Franklin Reigns

Franklin Raines returns to Fannie Mae as the first black CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation

there, from 1991 to 1996, as vice chairman.

His accomplishments during that time were many. Raines was primarily responsible for corporate development, new initiatives, information systems and credit policy. He also crafted the company’s mortgage standards and led the effort to streamline paperwork associated with processing mortgages. He was instrumental in crafting the Desk Top Underwriter, an automated underwriting system that allows lenders to originate mortgages cheaply and efficiently. He also helped create the Desk Top Home Counselor, an electronics system that helps loan counselors work with prospective home buyers to repair their credit in order to qualify for mortgages.

Outgoing Fannie Mae company CEO James A. Johnson approached Raines this past February and asked him to return to the fold. “Frank’s integrity and business acumen make him the ideal leader of Fannie Mae as it enters its fourth decade as a privately managed, shareholder-owned corporation,” says Johnson, who will step down as the day-to-day manager of the $400 billion secondary marketing giant effective January, 1.

John Buckley, senior vice president for communications at Fannie Mae, says Raines’ previous tenure at the company, now coupled with his invaluable White House connections, made him an obvious choice to lead Fannie Mae into the next century. “He’s a strategic thinker and a brilliant business analyst,” he says. “He has all the values we want to make sure Fannie Mae fulfills its mission to home buyers.”

Raines also sees his appointment at Fannie Mae as a breakthrough for African Americans in corporate America. He will earn salary and benefits exceeding $7 million annually, and
command major influence throughout corporate circles. “The boards of companies tend to be fairly conservative, and the fact that the Fannie Mae board saw me as the best CEO, I think, will be reassuring to other boards as they seek to promote black executives,” says Raines. But for blacks to head more Fortune 500 companies along the lines of a General Motors or an AT&T, Raines believes they’ll have to strategically position themselves where the action is. “There aren’t many black executives in the pool. We have focused on the nonprofit world and the world of government.”

White Raines enjoyed his first stint at Fannie Mae, a phone call from President Bill Clinton in 1996 lured him back into the world of politics. He left the company and a $2.25 million compensation package to become director of OMB. Raines says he’s been most proud of the key role he played in balancing the trillion-dollar federal budget, implementing management reforms across the government and helping the District of Columbia get back on its feet financially. Raines crafted a budget compromise that, if approved, would lead to the end of the annual federal deficit for the first time since 1969. The agreement cuts taxes, slows the growth of Medicare and creates new programs in education, children’s health insurance and welfare.

Hailed as a team player, Raines has become the most visible African American on Clinton’s senior staff, a group largely composed of white men. Eleanor Holmes

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