FHFA’s new acting director pledges focus on community investment

Sandra Thompson (FHFA)

The White House has named Sandra L. Thompson, a veteran of housing and banking regulation, as acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) effective immediately, the FHFA said in a statement.

Thompson has served as Deputy Director of the Division of Housing Mission and Purposes (DHMG) at FHFA since 2013. During this time, Thompson oversaw FHFA’s housing and regulatory policy, capital policy, analysis finance, fair lending and all mission activities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

“I am honored that President Biden has appointed me Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency until a permanent director is confirmed,” Thompson said. “I look forward to taking on this role at this crucial time. As a long-time regulator, I am committed to ensuring that our country’s housing finance systems and our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner. We can accomplish that, and at the same time focus on mission and community investment.”

Ed Delgado, Managing Director, Mortgage Policy Advisors and President of Five Star Global (DS News‘ parent company) voiced support for Thompson’s nomination

“I had the privilege of working with Ms. Thompson for several years, from her service at the FDIC to her most recent role as Deputy Director of FHFA’s Housing Mission and Purposes Division,” said Delgado said. “I know Ms. Thompson to be a respected and admired leader, who will set the right tone at FHFA as Acting Director. She is a force for good who will continue her mission to keep the system safe and strong. American housing.”

Thompson’s appointment follows Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the federal FHFA’s leadership structure was unconstitutional, a violation of the principle of separation of powers, and the subsequent removal of President Joe Biden from office. manager Mark Calabria on Wednesday afternoon.

Calabria in a statement that he respects the Court’s decision and the President’s authority to remove him from office and noted that since his 2019 appointment, he has seen the FHFA through everything from “record-low unemployment and a housing market, to a recession-triggered pandemic that spared house prices but contracted supply.” According to him, the FHFA over the past year “PROVID[ed] relief to landlords and tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. »

He added that “a lot of work remains” and wished his “successor all the best in fixing the remaining flaws in the housing finance system to preserve homeownership opportunities for all Americans.”

Yesterday White House officials said Calabria’s replacement would be someone ‘supportive of the administration’s housing policy priorities’, which Thompson referred to in his statement Wednesday night.

“There is a general lack of affordable housing and access to credit, especially in communities of color,” she said. “It is the duty of the FHFA, through our regulated entities, to ensure that all Americans have equal access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed in government conservatorship in September 2008 and the FHFA was formed to act as a regulator. As is the rule for such agencies, Congress created a leadership position to direct the equipment, once nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the Directo HaD a fixed term and vsold may only be revoked for cause by the incumbent President.

The Court last December seized the Collins vs Yellen case (then, Collins v. Mnuchin)and in Wednesday’s split decision, it ruled that a clawback provision preventing the director from being fired for reasons other than misconduct or negligence violated the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. , and the justices concluded that the appropriate remedy for the constitutionality violation was to sever the opt-out restriction from the rest of the law.

“The Association of Mortgage Bankers [MBA] has worked with the Acting Director extensively in the past and looks forward to continuing that relationship as she addresses various housing finance issues, including the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit , CMB. “This will include protecting taxpayers, serving GSE’s affordable housing mission, and ensuring a stable secondary mortgage market for a wide variety of single-family and multi-family lenders, regardless of size or business model.”

The FHFA is today responsible for overseeing the $7.2 trillion mortgage finance market.

Prior to joining FHFA, Thompson worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for more than 23 years in various management positions, most recently as Director of the Risk Management Oversight Division. While at the FDIC, Thompson led the Agency’s review and enforcement program for risk management and consumer protection during the height of the financial crisis. She also led FDIC outreach initiatives in response to a crisis of consumer confidence in the banking system. His experiences range from supervision to consumer protection, risk management and consumer awareness activities.

Jill E. Washington