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Panelist Biography

Guest Speaker Biographies - Barry Zigas

Last Updated: February 22, 2011

Barry Zigas is Director of Housing Policy for Consumer Federation of America.  He joined CFA in October, 2008.

He also consults with foundations, nonprofits and others in the areas of strategy, policy development and program development through his consulting practice, Zigas and Associates LLC, founded in 2006.  His clients have included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Neighborworks America, the Ford Foundation, the National Housing Trust, Low Income Investment Fund, NCB Capital Impact, National League of cities, the US Treasury’s CDFI Office, Mercy Housing, Inc., and UniDev LLC.

Prior to founding Zigas and Associates LLC in 2006, Zigas was a senior vice president at Fannie Mae where he led the corporation’s community lending initiatives, including specialized mortgage product development to increase homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income borrowers and underserved communities; investments in CDFIs; Fannie Mae’s investments supporting homeownership education and counseling; and corporate and regulatory housing goals reporting.

Zigas was president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition from September, 1984 until joining Fannie Mae in 1993.  In this position, Zigas led the policy development and advocacy efforts that resulted in the low-income housing tax credit in 1986.  He played a leading role in the creation and enactment of the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, particularly in developing the HOME program. He testified frequently before committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and was a member of the Rouse-Maxwell Housing Commission from 1988-89 and the Mitchell-Danforth Tax Credit Task Force in 1987.

Before that, Zigas was with the US Conference of Mayors for eight years as the senior staff person for the organization’s housing, community, and economic development policies.  He began his career in 1973 as a staff writer for the Housing and Development Reporter, published at that time by the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.

Zigas serves as a Trustee of Enterprise Community Partners and on the boards of the Low Income Investment Fund; the National Housing Conference; Mercy Housing, Inc. in Denver, CO; and the Avalon Theater Project, a nonprofit community owned movie theater, in Washington, DC.  He also served in the past as a board member of the American Homeownership Education and Counseling Institute, and the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Zigas has a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in history from Grinnell College where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received a Wingspread Fellowship from the Johnson Foundation.  He also is a 1997 graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.