Jeff Hayward, Senior VP, Fannie Mae Multifamily Division

Jeff Hayward speaks to MHN about his new role as executive vice president, Fannie Mae multifamily division, and what he foresees for the industry in the future.

Washington, D.C.—Ken Bacon, the current vice president of the Fannie Mae multifamily division, is soon retiring, and it was recently announced that Jeff Hayward, a 25-year Fannie Mae veteran, would be taking over the position as senior vice president. Most recently, Hayward was head of the Fannie Mae National Servicing Organization, where he managed relationships with single-family servicers and oversaw foreclosure prevention efforts.

Hayward recently spoke with MHN about his new role, and what he foresees for multifamily.

MHN: Congratulations on your new role. What are some of the plans you have for the position?

Hayward: I’ve been with the company 25 years, and it is a distinct pleasure and honor to run the multifamily business. We last year helped finance 422,000 units of multifamily housing. My plan right now is to bring as much liquidity to the market as we can bring, keep up all the things that are part of our charter, which is to provide affordability and stability to the market. That’s really our charge, that’s why folks who work for me come to work every day, to make sure you’re fulfilling that mission that you’re supposed to do. I’m excited about that opportunity to do that.

MHN: What do you plan to do differently from your predecessor?

Hayward: My predecessor Ken Bacon did an awesome job before I came, and I’m ever grateful and thankful for what he did. I don’t plan to change much because the things that we were doing hold true, which is, you’re in the market every day making sure that you can finance apartments as they are created or refurbished. That’s not going to change, and you’re there no matter whether or not the market is up or down. That’s a tenant of the business—the steady stream—and we just won’t be changing that.

MHN: Recently there’s been some uncertainty with Fannie Mae. Do you think that’s affecting lenders right now?

Hayward: There are a lot of things that I just flat-out can’t control. And one of the things I can’t control is how others who are not here view us. The only thing we can control is what we deliver to the market, so if we’re there for lenders and we do our part, we can deliver. There’s going to be speculation right now, just because that’s the environment we’re in, but I can’t control it.

MHN: Has the rate of employees leaving Fannie Mae increased because of the uncertainty?

Hayward: I can only specifically talk about the multifamily division, which I run, and it’s been remarkable. People are so energized by the work we do. I haven’t had that problem. I don’t think our turnover rates have been any different than what they’ve been historically. This is a business that finances mostly to people that are at or below median income, so the intrinsic value of serving the market—knowing that’s part of your job, it’s not just profit making—I think that’s a reason why people are inspired and they’re staying in multifamily. I can’t speak for the whole company, but for my division, people have a purpose, and they know it.

MHN: Do you think multifamily will continue to be a steady industry?

Hayward: So the fundamentals of multifamily are, when you’re in a good situation in terms of employment improving, and when the demographics work—meaning people have a job in the 25 to 34 demographic, which is a heavy rental demographic—those people will be out looking for apartments to rent. I think things bode well for the multifamily business. There have not been as many new apartment units started in the last several years, and in the next couple of years there aren’t as many planned to be started, so you’re going to have some of the tension of dynamic supply and demand. There will be more demand, and I think the supply is ample, and that balance should be there over the next couple of years. Whether it’s there or not, I don’t know, but it looks like it’s going to be there.

MHN: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Hayward: Multifamily at Fannie Mae is important, and I can’t emphasize enough, because I get to work with these people, the folks here come to work every day in the multifamily division, the 400+ people, they couldn’t be happier about the jobs they have to do. I didn’t have to come in and do much motivation; folks are just on fire about the mission we have here.