Senate confirms Mark Calabria to lead FHFA

Confirmed by a vote of 52-44

The Senate confirmed the nomination of Mark Calabria to serve as the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Thursday.

The Senate voted 52-44 to confirm Calabria, who was currently serving as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief economist.

Now that he’s confirmed, Calabria will now lead the agency overseeing the government-sponsored enterprises, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Prior to Calabria’s confirmation, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting was serving as the agency’s acting director following Mel Watt's term as director ending. 

“I congratulate Mark Calabria on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” Otting said in a statement. “I am confident that Mark will do a great job leading the FHFA, as he recognizes the need to work toward a housing finance system that protects taxpayers and meets our nation's housing needs."

Calabria’s confirmation has been met with much fanfare from within the mortgage and housing sectors.

“Dr. Calabria has decades of experience in the housing industry, including time spent as an economist at NAR, and he understands the critical importance of the FHFA’s prudent management of America’s housing finance system," John Smaby, president of the National Association of Realtors, said. “As he begins his tenure, we urge Director Calabria to work closely with Congress in the effort to responsibly reform the GSEs, particularly in search of policies that protect the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, secure a government guarantee and emphasize taxpayer and consumer protection.”

"MBA applauds the Senate for confirming Mark Calabria to be the next Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. His knowledge and experience will serve him well as he takes over this dynamic agency at such a critical time,” said Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Robert Broeksmit.

"NAHB congratulates Mark Calabria on his Senate confirmation as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He brings considerable housing finance experience to the job,” National Association of Home Builders Chairman Greg Ugalde said. “We look forward to working with Mark to advance comprehensive housing finance reform that maintains an appropriate level of federal support to ensure an adequate flow of affordable housing credit in all economic and financial conditions."

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 what will the FHFA be like with Calabria at the helm? Calabria has a history of being an “outspoken critic” of Fannie and Freddie and has 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.

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