Walker & Dunlop Hires Former FHA Commissioner to Lead HUD Lending

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Walker & Dunlop has tapped a former Federal Housing Administration (FHA) executive to lead its multifamily and affordable housing lending platform.

The Bethesda, Md.-based commercial real estate firm announced Monday that Dana Wade, who previously served as FHA commissioner, has joined as chief production officer to lead U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) originations. Wade will be tasked with driving the company’s affordable housing financing activities.

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“Walker & Dunlop is a leader in the commercial real estate finance industry, particularly as it relates to multifamily and affordable housing,” Wade said in a statement. “I’m excited for this opportunity to join such a growth-oriented firm with an incredible culture and focus on people, brand, and technology.”

In her role as FHA commissioner, Wade led financing efforts for more than 11,000 rental properties and 3,000 mortgages for residential care facilities and hospitals during the 2020 fiscal year. She was tasked with implementing “enhanced risk management” for FHA’s $1.4 trillion portfolio and leading more than 2,400 employees.

“Having a leader with Dana’s skills augmenting our focus on affordable housing, which has accounted for $17 billion of Walker & Dunlop’s lending over the past three years, will be extremely valuable to our clients and team members,” Willy Walker, the firm’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Prior to joining the FHA, Wade was associate director at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she led budget oversight for six executive branch agencies with a focus on financial services, including HUD. She previously held senior roles in the U.S. Congress, including as deputy staff director for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs as well as deputy staff director for the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“Dana has a proven track record, impressive qualifications, and the perfect personality to join Walker & Dunlop’s leadership team,” Sheri Thompson, the firm’s executive vice president and FHA finance group head, said in a statement. “Her leadership and management skills will immediately help Walker & Dunlop maintain our position as one of the largest FHA multifamily lenders in the country, while also expanding our focus on affordable housing lending across all capital sources.”

Wade graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.