Senate Confirms New FHFA Director

December 11, 2013

Congressman Mel Watt, D-N.C., will serve as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency’s first permanent director in more than four years. The U.S. Senate confirmed Watt’s nomination Tuesday. 

“Mr. Watt's confirmation could usher in a shift in U.S. housing policy, with implications for consumers seeking mortgages and lenders that extend them,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “The agency has tremendous control over Fannie and Freddie.”

Watt will take charge of the FHFA at a time when lawmakers are struggling to overhaul the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the agency oversees. The FHFA is in charge of determining such factors as the fees the mortgage giants can charge and the size of loans they can issue.

Watt will replace Ed DeMarco, the acting director of the FHFA, who has been leading the agency ever since the government-sponsored enterprises entered conservatorship.  

The National Association of REALTORS® released a statement Tuesday, applauding the Senate’s confirmation of Watt. 

“During his two-decade tenure in Congress, Watt served on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and was an outspoken advocate for home ownership,” NAR said in a statement. “His leadership on the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity and the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises helped promote and protect safe, affordable access to homeownership for creditworthy buyers. NAR looks forward to continuing our work with Rep. Watt as he transitions into his new role as FHFA director.”

Source: “U.S. Senate confirms Mel Watt as next FHFA director,” HousingWire (Dec. 10, 2013) and “Senate Confirms Rep. Mel Watt to Lead Federal Housing Finance Agency,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 10, 2013)

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