Norton, Washington, D.C.’s delegate to Congress, has worked closely with Raines over the last two years to repair the District’s financial infrastructure. “Between the Balanced Budget Act for the nation and the Revitalization Act for the District, Frank’s contributions are of the largest dimensions. His signature is memorably spread across the Clinton years.”
Raines will have many challenges at Fannie Mae, a corporation with more than $404 billion in total assets. For one, a recent report shows that blacks are far less likely than whites to be homeowners. According to Fannie Mae, 72% of white Americans own homes vs. 45% of African Americans and 44% of Hispanics. This inequity is not lost on Raines, who wants to increase the rare of home ownership among black and Hispanic families.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says Raines may be sailing into choppy seas as Fannie Mae seems to be less focused on providing secondary mortgages as it quests for greater profits.
Raines will ultimately have to answer to more than one critic as he comes under increasing scrutiny as the country’s first black Fortune 500 CEO. He may not have aggressively pursued the label, but now that he has it, he plans to set an example for all to follow. “Either you say yes to a position like this or it passes you by,” says Raines. “This appointment is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”