The White House has nominated Anthony Calabria to be the new Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to succeed Melvin Whatt who has served as the head of the agency for the last 5 years. Prior to this, Calabria was the Chief Economist to the Vice President. He’ll run an agency in a time of potential transition in which some law makers would like to see the government separate it’s self from the two mortgage giants; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It’s not expected that the Senate will be able to confirm him prior to Mr. Whatt’s term ending so the agency will likely have to appoint a temporary director while Mr. Calabria goes through the nomination process and Senate hearings. The nomination had no significant affect on the Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) market as they were essentially unchanged just after the announcement.
A Well Received Nomination
The nomination as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been somewhat well received so far however it is not absent of those who think he’s the wrong choice. Mr. Calabria has been involved in the housing and finance industries as he was an aide to the Senate Banking Committee and helped draft the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). His qualifications continue beyond that as he’s worked for the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors, and Harvard’s Center For Housing Studies. Those that will oppose the nomination point to his previous statements in which he advocates for liquidating the two mortgage giants, the abolishment of the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners and he’s also advocated for lowering the conforming loan limits. These limits were just recently raised by FHFA to $484,350.00.
Robert Broeksmit, President of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) issued the following statement: “He has a deep background in housing finance issues and we have enjoyed a good working relationship with him in his current and past roles. We look forward to working with him on a wide variety of housing finance issues, not the least of which is resolving the now-decade long conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a way that best serves borrowers, protects taxpayers and ensures equal access to stable and liquid secondary mortgage markets for a wide variety of single- and multifamily lenders, regardless of size or business model.”