Biden taps Julia Gordon to be FHA commissioner

Nomination awaits confirmation in the Senate

The Biden administration has nominated Julia Gordon to serve as federal housing commissioner at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As commissioner, Gordon would lead the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), supervise programs related to the private mortgage market and oversee the $400 billion Federal Housing Administration insurance portfolio.

The nomination follows a blistering week of federal policy moves that included the ouster of Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria; the appointment of Sandra Thompson as Calabria’s temporary replacement; and the nomination of David Uejio, the acting director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, to serve as assistant secretary at HUD.

Gordon, a well-respected housing industry veteran, is currently the president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, which facilitates the rehabilitation of residential properties in underserved markets. Gordon is an expert in federal policy related to homeownership, community development and the nation’s housing finance system.

She managed the single-family policy team at the FHFA from 2011 to 2012, and more recently, was a member of the FHFA and HUD agency review team for the Biden administration.

David Dworkin, president of the National Housing Conference, applauded Gordon’s nomination. As the nation transitions to the post-pandemic period, housing policy will define how well the homeowners assistance fund is executed, what options FHA mortgage-holders have to stay in their homes, and how to deal with borrowers who cannot, he said.

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“There is no person in the U.S. who is more qualified for that job at this time than Julia Gordon,” said Dworkin. “She understands better than almost anyone how important it is to maintain stability of the neighborhood as well as the stability of the homeowner.”

Dworkin said that Gordon faces a potentially daunting task ahead, should the Senate confirm her nomination. She would then need to convince the best and brightest of the private sector to come to the FHA for a “fraction of what they are making,” said Dworkin.

“The challenge will be to convince them that they can make an impact, that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.

As FHA commissioner, Gordon could help to make FHA loans more competitive in the market. Along with Department of Veterans Affairs borrowers, those with FHA financing often find that sellers and lenders are less interested in working with them.

Representatives of the housing industry also welcomed the news of Gordon’s nomination. Bob Broeksmit, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, emphasized that her previous experience at both FHFA and NCST would provide her with a “unique perspective” on issues in the housing market.

“We look forward to continuing to work with her, Secretary Marcia Fudge, and others at HUD and in the administration to ensure a strong FHA program that provides affordable housing opportunities, both rental and owned, for all Americans, while also protecting taxpayers,” said Broeksmit.

Broeksmit also underscored the need to continue the effort to modernize the FHA, which lags behind other federal housing agencies.

“We also look forward to working with the agency to finish the much-needed work to improve efficiency, instill certainty and bring more lenders back to the FHA program.”

Senior HUD official Janet Golrick is currently serving as acting FHA commissioner. Dana Wade, who President Donald Trump appointed at the beginning of 2020, stepped down when Biden assumed the Presidency in January 2021. Before Wade, Brian Montgomery served as commissioner from 2018 to 2020.

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