Christopher D. Bell

Tel 202.661.7604
Fax 202.661.2299
Washington, DC

Christopher D. Bell leads the firm's FHA and GSE Financing Team and advises and represents real estate lenders, borrowers, and developers on transactional and regulatory issues, with a concentration on financing transactions involving government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae.

Prior to joining Ballard Spahr, Chris practiced for more than 10 years at Fannie Mae, a GSE chartered by Congress to support the secondary mortgage market. As the agency's Associate General Counsel of Housing and Community Development, he served as Fannie Mae's lead attorney for affordable housing transactions and secondary market construction loan participations and syndications. His experience includes a variety complex real estate finance transactions, including those involving mortgage-backed securities, bond credit enhancement, mezzanine debt, senior housing, and pool purchases.

In addition, Chris served as lead counsel for Fannie Mae's corporate charitable arm, the Office of Community Investment and Engagement, where he provided legal counsel regarding grant documentation, intellectual property rights, procurement, audit, and compliance matters.

Chris has years of experience with form loan documents, requirements for Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS) lenders, and product enhancement review and design.

Additionally, Chris has represented clients, both as in-house corporate counsel and as outside counsel, in the full range of real estate matters, including sales, acquisitions, foreclosures, zoning, land use, development cooperation agreements, retail and office leasing, bond purchase agreements, easement agreements, development conditions, and proffers.

Chris is a member of the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Professional Activities

Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board

American Bar Association

Speaking Engagements

Co-Chair, Ballard Spahr's 2017 National Housing Symposium, Washington, DC, November 3, 2017

Co-Moderator, "The Changing Market in Affordable Housing Finance," Ballard Spahr's Western Housing Conference, Phoenix, March 10, 2017

Co-Chair, Ballard Spahr's 2016 National Housing Symposium, Washington, DC, November 4, 2016 

Moderator, "Demographic Trends in Multifamily Housing: Past, Present, and Future," Ballard Spahr's 2016 National Housing Symposium, Washington, D.C., November 4, 2016  

Moderator, "Spotlight Interview with Charlie Werhane, Enterprise Community Investment," Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference (BMAC), Washington D.C., October 20, 2016

Recognition & Accomplishments 

The Legal 500 US, real estate and construction - real estate, 2016-2017

Board Memberships

Chair, Board of Trustees, University of the District of Columbia, 2017

Board of Directors, El Centro Rosemount, 2007-2012; Vice Chair, 2009-2010

University of Texas School of Law (J.D. 1996)
Texas Environmental Law Journal, Associate Editor

Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (M.P.A. 1992)
The University of Texas at Austin (B.A. 1990)

District of Columbia