WASHINGTON: Fannie Mae has eliminated 20 public affairs positions in its regional offices and created seven new ones elsewhere in an attempt to place an emphasis on the shift from lobbying operations to business communications.
The government-chartered mortgage finance company announced it was creating the new business communications positions in order to help the company "better align the business with the needs and focus of our customers and partners," said Brian Faith, Fannie Mae communications director.
The posts that were eliminated had operated on a regional basis in five offices, supporting Fannie Mae's grassroots political operations across the country to advance the company's legislative agenda. The laid-off employees, Faith said, will be eligible to reapply for
the new positions.
"The idea is that the changes will better align communications with the needs of our internal clients and help further the company's larger business objectives," he said. "Part of it is an effort to streamline and make more efficient the entire communications department."
Fannie Mae also has decided not to renew its grassroots lobbying contracts with Michael Whouley of DC-based public affairs firm Dewey Square Group and Ralph Reed of Atlanta-based Century Strategies, Faith said. Whouley was a senior aide to Sen. John Kerry during his 2004 bid for the presidency. Reed is former executive director of the Christian Coalition.
In late 2004, Fannie Mae came under investigation for alleged widespread accounting errors, including the shift of losses so that senior executives could earn bonuses from making earnings targets. Last December, Fannie Mae chairman and CEO Franklin Raines announced his resignation.