Mike Hemmens has been financing affordable housing throughout most of his 16-year career. He recently rose to Western regional director for Citi Community Capital, Citi’s main avenue for financing affordable housing and community investment projects. The West is responsible for a large portion of the group’s total production.

Hemmens, 39, has been involved in many aspects of financing affordable housing, including providing construction and permanent loans, ­securing credit enhancements, and conducting due diligence. He began in the industry when he was hired out of college to be an analyst in the affordable housing division of ARCS Commercial Mortgage, in 1998. In 2002, Hemmens joined GMAC Commercial Mortgage, and he’s been with Citi since 2007, when it acquired GMAC’s ­affordable housing division.

He cites two big reasons the work is important to him. “We’re helping provide much-­needed affordable housing,” he says. “I feel we’re helping.”

The other is the close ties he’s made in the field. “You’re able to maintain relationships,” says Hemmens, who’s based in Southern California. “It’s a tight group of players in a business that has high barriers to entry.”

He’s worked with many of the industry’s top developers, including Vitus Group.

“Mike has been an integral part of our team and our development process,” says David Beacham, director at Vitus. “He has a deep understanding of both the lender’s and the developer’s perspectives, which is what makes him so valuable to us.”

Hemmens also devotes time to other industry groups. He serves on the Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Board and sits on the board of the nonprofit Hearthstone Housing Foundation.

He and his wife, Olivia, have a son, Thomas.