The silence coming from Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt is beginning to become conspicuous.
The 11-term congressman from North Carolina was sworn in as director of the FHFA in January, but has not delivered a 2014 strategic plan for the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
As discussions on Capitol Hill have intensified with multiple proposals for GSE reform coming from both sides of the aisle, Watt’s voice will carry a significant amount of weight, provided that he actually uses it.
We have yet to see or hear Watt's vision for housing finance," said Clifford Rossi, a former banker and risk executive at Freddie Mac who is now a finance professor at the University of Maryland. "He is still getting up to speed."
Not only has Watt's reticence surprised the industry, but it has disappointed some lawmakers who had hoped for guidance on housing legislation.
As director of the FHFA, Watt has tremendous influence over Fannie and Freddie, which own or guarantee about $5 trillion in U.S. mortgages. Banks, credit unions, homebuilders, real estate brokers and would-be homeowners all have a stake.
Sources inside and close to the FHFA say they believe he is largely comfortable with the current direction of the two companies and they do not expect to see dramatic changes.