Late Tuesday night, President Donald Trump announced his choice to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Mark Calabria.
Trump announced his intent to nominate Calabria, who currently serves as chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence. Previously, Calabria served as a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee where he was one of the lead drafters of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created the FHFA.
Calabria served as deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during former President George W. Bush’s administration. Calabria also held positions at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors.
So, Calabria has the housing experience and has long been outspoken about housing issues. In one example, the same week that he was named to Pence’s staff, Calabria posted a blog, found here, where he addresses the Mortgage Bankers Association’s plans for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Rumors began to surface that Calabria would be the agency’s next leader earlier this week.
The current head of the FHFA, Mel Watt, is set to depart in January. Watt also recently faced some serious allegations involving his alleged conduct while in his role.
And what might the FHFA look like under its new leadership? For one thing, as Pence's economist, Calabria famously called for the end of the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Click here to read more about what Calabria as director of the FHFA would mean for the future of the GSEs.
Of course, Calabria’s nomination must still be approved by the Senate, but with his extensive background in housing, and a Republican majority in the Senate, that isn’t expected to be a problem.
“Mark Calabria possesses a unique combination of policy, regulatory and housing expertise, and his nomination to lead the FHFA is well deserved,” said Dan Berger, National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions president and CEO.
“If confirmed by the Senate, NAFCU looks forward to working closely with Mr. Calabria to ensure a healthy, sustainable and viable secondary mortgage market,” Berger said. “In our numerous meetings with Mr. Calabria, it is clear he has a firm understanding of credit union issues and of the important role the GSEs play in their mission.”
And the housing industry is already preparing for Calabria to take over. The Mortgage Bankers Association expressed its support for Trump’s nominee, saying it looks forward to working with him on several issues – including GSE reform.
“MBA congratulates Mark Calabria on the announcement that President Trump intends to nominate him to be the next Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” MBA President and CEO Robert Broeksmit said. “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,” Broeksmit said.