Priscilla Almodovar, the President and CEO of Fannie Mae, has set a transformative goal for the mortgage giant: making homeownership accessible to all Americans, including those often overlooked by traditional lending criteria. Almodovar, who took the helm in December 2022, aims to include the “credit invisible”—hardworking individuals who, despite having savings and a consistent history of rent payments, have been excluded from home loan considerations due to their lack of traditional credit scores.

“There are 44 million renters in this country,” Almodovar stated at CNBC’s Equity and Opportunity: Exec Connect in 2023. “They are paying their rent. That rent didn’t count—until now.” Under her leadership, Fannie Mae now factors consistent rent payments and non-traditional income sources into its loan decision-making process. The company also actively fights racial bias in housing appraisals and works to lower closing costs, making homeownership more equitable.

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Almodovar, the only Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company, leverages her unique perspective to address these barriers. Fannie Mae, which handles one out of four mortgages in the U.S., plays a pivotal role in shaping the housing market. Her strategic vision is crucial, particularly as rising interest rates and low housing inventory exacerbate the housing affordability crisis. According to the National Association of Realtors, only 44% of Black households and 51% of Hispanic households own their homes, compared to 66% of Americans overall.

Almodovar's leadership at Fannie Mae is characterized by her commitment to making the housing system fairer for all. She emphasizes the importance of partnerships and support networks in achieving professional and personal goals. “I bring that sensibility of many immigrants in this country,” she says. “This is a place of opportunity, and I bring that to my work because if you work hard, hopefully, you’ll see the benefit of your efforts.”

Reflecting on her first year as CEO, Almodovar recalls a significant moment when Fannie Mae successfully navigated the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. “To see the company in action, how we came together, how we communicated with our stakeholders, how we assessed our risk,” she noted, highlighting the strength and commitment of her team.

Almodovar’s extensive experience in the housing sector spans over two decades, including roles as president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners and the New York State Housing Finance Agency. Each position has honed her ability to empower teams and create pathways for new generations of homeowners. Her leadership style emphasizes mentorship and open communication, fostering a culture of innovation and inclusivity at Fannie Mae.

Under Almodovar’s guidance, Fannie Mae continues to evolve, focusing on helping individuals achieve their homeownership goals. As she leads the company into the future, her dedication to equity and accessibility in housing remains unwavering, setting the stage for lasting impact in the industry.