Franklin Delano “Frank” Raines (born January 14, 1949) is an American business executive. He is the former chairman and chief executive officer of the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, who served as White House budget director under President Bill Clinton. His role leading Fannie Mae has come under scrutiny.
In 1969, Raines first worked in national politics, preparing a report for the Nixon administration on the causes and patterns of youth unrest around the country related to the Vietnam War. He served in the Carter Administration as associate director for economics and government in the Office of Management and Budget and assistant director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff from 1977 to 1979. Then he joined Lazard Freres and Co., where he worked for 11 years and became a general partner. In 1991 he became Fannie’s Mae’s Vice Chairman, a post he left in 1996 in order to join the Clinton Administration as the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, where he served until 1998. In 1999, he returned to Fannie Mae as CEO, “the first black man to head a Fortune 500 company.”
On December 21, 2004 Raines accepted what he called “early retirement” from his position as CEO while U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators continued to investigate alleged accounting irregularities. He is accused by The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), the regulating body of Fannie Mae, of abetting widespread accounting errors, which included the shifting of losses so senior executives, such as himself, could earn large bonuses.
In 2006, the OFHEO announced a suit against Raines in order to recover some or all of the $90 million in payments made to Raines based on the overstated earnings, initially estimated to be $9 billion but have been announced as $6.3 billion.
Civil charges were filed against Raines and two other former executives by the OFHEO in which the OFHEO sought $110 million in penalties and $115 million in returned bonuses from the three accused. On April 18, 2008, the government announced a settlement with Raines together with J. Timothy Howard, Fannie’s former chief financial officer, and Leanne G. Spencer, Fannie’s former controller. The three executives agreed to pay fines totaling about $3 million, which will be paid by Fannie’s insurance policies. Raines also agreed to donate the proceeds from the sale of $1.8 million of his Fannie stock and to give up stock options, which were valued at $15.6 million when issued. The stock options however had no value. Raines also gave up an estimated $5.3 million of “other benefits” said to be related to his pension and forgone bonuses.
An editorial in The Wall Street Journal called it a “paltry settlement” which allowed Raines and the other two executives to “keep the bulk of their riches.” In 2003 alone, Raines’s compensation was over $20 million.
A statement issued by Raines said of the consent order, “is consistent with my acceptance of accountability as the leader of Fannie Mae and with my strong denial of the allegations made against me by OFHEO.”
In a settlement with OFHEO and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fannie paid a record $400 million civil fine. Fannie, which is the largest American financier and guarantor of home mortgages, also agreed to make changes in its corporate culture and accounting procedures and ways of managing risk.
In June 2008 The Wall Street Journal reported that Franklin Raines was one of several public officials who received below market rates loans at Countrywide Financial because the corporation considered the officeholders “FOA’s”–“Friends of Angelo” (Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo). He received loans for over $3 million while CEO of Fannie Mae