A report in The Wall Street Journal is stating that FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens has resigned and will leave his position at the end of April. Stevens has served as commissioner since July of 2009, presiding over the housing policies for the Obama Administration during the severe housing market collapse.
As conventional and private sector lending diminished, the FHA's market share increased dramatically creating intense debate over the role of government in propping up the housing market. Stevens was tasked with leading the FHA through this time, striving to balance the needs to stabilize the housing market while managing risks and potential losses for the agency.
"Assuming this position and the challenges addressed since I took office have been the most intense and significant in my career," Mr. Stevens said in a statement. "I am extremely proud of everything we accomplished to put the FHA back on stable footing."
In the process, the FHA has raised insurance premiums and terminated the FHA approval of hundreds of lenders. In terms of the HECM program, Stevens oversaw the reduction in principal limits and the introduction of the HECM Saver program, in addition to increased annual premium to stabilize the insurance fund. The FHA has also been working with the industry to resolve the potential tax and insurance default issue to proactively address loans in technical default while avoiding foreclosures.
"Dave has been singularly focused on restoring FHA to fiscal health," said Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in a statement. "His leadership…has not only contributed to a renewed sense of confidence in the FHA, but also a restored trust in government and what it can do."
The announcement comes at a time when the House Financial Services Committee is seeking to terminate housing assistance programs, including the FHA's short-refinance program which Stevens is credit with pioneering, but has seen limited success.
A strong advocate of the Obama Administration, it is unknown where Stevens will go from here. It is expected that the former mortgage banking veteran will return to the private sector.