My Swan Song!

NDHFA executive director, Mike Anderson, set to retire May 31.

By now you all know that I have decided to retire after nearly 30 years with North Dakota Housing. I will use this space for my last message to you to reflect on those years and to express my gratitude to all the friends I’ve acquired along the way.

I began this journey when I became Director of Financial Programs in 1983. Actually, that title was a fancy name for directing the Agency’s homeownership programs. At the time, however, I wasn’t “directing” anyone. I was a department of one. I had no staff. There were no procedure manuals. And there wasn’t a computer and the requisite software to track the programs or the loans they generated.

The years flew by as we acquired all that is necessary to run a department and the programs it housed. We built our homeownership programs from the ground up. We created partnerships with the lending and real estate community by building credibility. We garnered faith from the home buying public that we knew what we were doing.

We suffered with others during the higher than sky interest rates that soon crashed at our feet. And then we weathered the storm when the housing market fell out from under us following an oil bust. But, in the end, there were more than 37,000 loans totaling $2.7 billion and a program today that is considered affordable, safe, and a reliable source of home financing for young families just starting out.

In 2005, I became only the second executive director in history of the agency. I took the responsibility for leading the agency with the desire to take it to new horizons. With all the successes we had been having in getting North Dakotans into homeownership, there remained a void in housing our most vulnerable citizens. So, we enlisted the help of stakeholders across the entire horizon of housing advocacy and set out to establish priorities for making North Dakota a better place to live. This new focus would include helping rural North Dakota survive, appropriately housing an increasing senior population, reversing a rapidly aging housing stock, assisting our Native American reservations solve their housing anomaly, and bring homelessness out of the shadows and get communities engaged.

For all this to be successful I felt housing had to become part of the public conversation regarding quality of life. So, my mantra became that we needed a state housing policy. From there more partnerships and alliances were formed. Existing ones were strengthened and expanded. We all became committed to this priority agenda.

Today North Dakota is well on its way to having a housing policy. Citizens and policy makers alike are coming together and talking about how to solve our housing issues. While this work is far from completed, I can say with confidence that this train has left the station.

I have now come to the realization that it is best for me to get out of the way and let the momentum take over. It is time to place this momentum in the hands of the stakeholders and partners whose commitment and perseverance has had more to do with getting us where we are today than anything.

Over my years of service, I have met many professional and compassionate people, most of whom have become not only strong business partners, but also close friends. Whether staff or stakeholder, you have supported me, counseled me, challenged me and most importantly driven me to new levels of achievement along the way. For that I thank you and will forever cherish our friendship. Let’s not lose touch with each other. God Bless.

10 thoughts on “My Swan Song!

  1. Kathy Hammer

    Congrats Mike,
    It has been a pleasure knowing you. You have been a great asset to North Dakota housing and a good friend. Our board will surely miss you and having our visits at convention. Enjoy retirement and I will think of you every year on our birthday!
    Sincerely,
    Kathy

    Reply
  2. Dorothy Kosse

    Congrats Mike on the retirement. It is well deserved and I hope you have alot of fun plans.

    Dorothy Kosse.

    Reply
  3. Lynn Fundingsland

    Mike we wish you all the best – know that North Dakota’s housing stakeholders appreciate all you have done in your tenure at the Agency – you took us in as partners and peers and collaborators and provided effective leadership and advocacy that has made a huge difference to the quality of life and culture of the state – not just for homebuyers but also for lower income tenants and the homeless – nice work – nice legacy – hats off..

    Reply
  4. Bonnie Schriock

    Congratulations Mike!! I want to thank you for all of your support with Grayce Manor and the Transition Into Indpendence Program in Minot. When you came for the tour of Grayce Manor, I did not have to explain to you why we needed the house for transition clients as you immediately understood and stated you would support the home to continue to provide a place for young adults to gain skills to be successful in that transition to the community. It is a gesture I will never forget. Enjoy the next phase in your life as during your career you MADE A DIFFERENCE!!! Thanks you so very much.

    Reply
  5. Doreen Riedman

    Mike, the staff and board of the North Dakota Association of Builders wish you the best in your retirement from the ND Housing Finance Agency! We’ve appreciated the great working relationship we’ve had with you and your staff over the years, as we work to advance housing in our state. Best wishes as you move to the next chapter!

    Doreen

    Reply
  6. Myra Savelkoul

    Good Luck to you Mike. It seems like we’ve always had HFA programs for our borrowers, but it also seems like it was just yesterday when HFA came into being. It has been such a pleasure working with you over the years. You and your team have done an outstanding job of not only helping the citizens of North Dakota but our lenders as well. I know the HFA team will continue to do great things, but you will be missed!

    Reply
  7. David Waind

    Congratulations Mike on a well earned retirement. Your efforts on behalf of affordable housing in North Dakota are to be commended! You have always understood the needs of citizens and communities alike and have worked diligently to try to improve every facet of the processes needed to accomplish the NDHFA goals. Thank you for all you have done in bettering our State! Best Wishes in the years ahead!

    Reply
  8. Barbara Owens

    Congratulations on a spectacular career! It was a pleasure working with you and I wish you well in retirement (which is great, by the way). I hope you catch your limit every day you are on the water!

    Reply

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