Raines Bullish On Housing

Fannie Mae CEO unconcerned about potential bubble

of Raines’ goals is to increase the number of African American homeowners. African Americans, followed closely by Hispanic Americans, continue to struggle to become homeowners. More than 47% of African Americans are homeowners compared to 74.8% of white Americans, according to fourth quarter 2002 homeownership rates reported by the U.S. Census Bureau (see Facts & Figures, this issue). As part of its 10-point plan to increase minority homeownership, the housing giant also aims to provide home financing to 4.6 million minority households by investing at least $700 billion through 2009.

“We are very strong and fair in expanding opportunities for homeownership to minorities, to young people, to single moms,” explains Raines, whose father–a man with good financial history–couldn’t get a mortgage loan for more than four years. “One of the most important things you can do for your future is to become a homeowner. It’s the basis of wealth for most Americans.”

According to UBS’ Gordon, the weak economy has more banks financing more home mortgage loans, which generally is safer than a business loan, causing more competition for Fannie Mae. But despite the added competition, the analyst foresees a good year ahead for the home mortgage company, which should keep Raines smiling.

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