Heidi McKibben, a vice president of Fannie Mae’s multifamily division and a well-known member of the multifamily finance community, will retire from the company April 6.

McKibben, who most recently served as Fannie’s vice president for borrower strategy, was responsible for the company’s borrower channel, including the structured transactions and seniors housing business teams. The borrower channel was a relatively recent addition to Fannie’s business model, and as its chief architect, McKibben was central to its success.

Fannie Mae opened its borrower channel in the second quarter of 2010 as a response to increasing competitive pressure from Freddie Mac. One advantage Freddie historically had was its willingness to engage in borrower differentiation—basically, premier borrowers could get better rates and terms than the garden-variety borrower. But Fannie’s Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS) model—with its fixed pricing and underwriting grid—didn’t lend itself well to that dynamic.

So, in June of 2010, the borrower channel was created with McKibben at the helm, and the company almost instantly began winning more and more large deals. Many DUS lenders over the last 18 months, including Red Capital and CWCapital, have sung the praises of McKibben’s borrower channel as a huge boon in helping them win larger deals.

Before that, McKibben had previously served as Fannie Mae’s head of multifamily production. Her replacement will be Paul Lewis, a vice president of multifamily based out of the Los Angeles office, the company confirmed.

McKibben’s departure is another blow to Fannie, which also recently lost its executive vice president of multifamily, Ken Bacon. Over the last few years, Fannie Mae has had a lot of success in retaining its top talent, but the strains of conservatorship are beginning to hasten the “brain drain” at the government-sponsored enterprise. While Bacon’s retirement had been planned for years, McKibben’s departure was more sudden, DUS lenders say.

Prior to joining the GSE in 1997, McKibben was a vice president in the commercial real estate lending division of Citibank for 14 years.