Trump taps OCC’s Otting to replace Watt as FHFA director

Will oversee agency after Watt's term ends in January

President Donald Trump designated Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting as the next acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Otting will take over the FHFA temporarily until a permanent director is approved by the Senate, and will start his tenure once current Director Mel Watt’s term ends on January 6, 2019.

“I am honored that President Trump has named me Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” Otting said. “I look forward to serving in this additional role until a permanent Director is confirmed and appointed to this important position. I want to thank outgoing Director Mel Watt for his long service to the country.”

Otting will continue in his role as Comptroller of the Currency while he serves as acting director at the FHFA. He explained this would not be possible without the quality staff and leadership at both agencies.

“I look forward to continuing the vital work of the OCC to ensure the federal banking system operates in a safe, sound, and fair manner just as I look forward to leading the FHFA in its important roles overseeing the Federal Home Loan Bank System and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Otting said.

Watt congratulated Otting, saying he looked forward to a smooth transition in the new year. 

“I congratulate Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting on being named Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency as my successor, effective Jan. 7, 2019,” Watt said. “I have served with Comptroller Otting as a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and both the OCC and FHFA have offices in the same building. The highly professional staff at FHFA and I look forward to working with him to ensure a seamless transition.”  

Earlier this month, Trump nominated Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief Economist Mark Calabria as a permanent director of the FHFA.

Calabria has not been confirmed by the Senate, but brings with him significant experience in the housing industry, and his confirmation should not be difficult in the Republican-led Senate. 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.

If confirmed, Calabria will take over as head of the FHFA from Acting Director Otting. A date has not yet been set for Calabria’s confirmation hearing or vote.

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