FHA Commissioner Carol Galante to Depart Post by Year-End

Carol Galante, who has held oversight of the Federal Housing Administration’s reverse mortgage program in her role as FHA commissioner, will leave her post at year-end, she announced today.

Following her departure, Galante will assume a professorship in affordable housing at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she will serve as Director of the Berkeley Program in Housing and Urban Policy and co-chair the Fisher Center on Real Estate Policy Advisory Board, she shared in a letter to colleagues Monday.

“This is a compelling opportunity for me to continue with work I am passionate about and also return home to California,” Galante said in the letter.

Previous to her service for HUD, Galante was President and Chief Executive of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, the largest non-profit developer of affordable, mixed-income and mixed-use developments in California.

In her HUD role, she worked toward stabilizing the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, and pioneered change across FHA’s loan programs, including the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. She has spoken regularly at National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association conferences.

In a recap of policy change during her tenure, Galante pointed to HECM program change as one of her accomplishments.

“With the Risk Office, we have implemented a holistic approach to risk assessment for every business line,” she said. “We have stabilized the HECM Program and partnered with Public and Indian Housing (PIH) to find ways to invest in public and affordable housing. We managed a fivefold increase in multifamily and healthcare work and we have begun the process of clarifying FHA policy so lenders have clear, consistent guidelines to follow.”

Industry members noted her reliable leadership over the HECM program in response to the departure news.

“I’m extremely sorry to see her go, but fully understand the desire to move on, particularly to such interesting new opportunities,” said Peter Bell, president and CEO of NRMLA. “Carol has been one of the most effective FHA Commissioners in the 37 years I’ve been dealing with HUD, leading the organization into a new era and addressing many underlying issues that have deserved attention for years. Modernizing HECM is included in that. We (the community of housing professionals that work with HUD) will miss her, for sure.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association responded Monday to the news of the departure, noting Galante’s work toward MMI Fund stability and strength of loan programs.

“I worked closely with Carol, both at FHA and in my current role, and her departure will be a great loss for the industry as well as to HUD,” said MBA President and CEO David Stevens. “Carol was a tremendous asset to both in very difficult times.”

She will depart her HUD post at the end of 2014, she noted. On an interim basis, Biniam Gebre, general deputy assistant secretary for housing, will fill Galante’s role.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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