Lockhart to Leave FHFA Soon

[Update 2: adds Lockhart’s statement on his resignation, Williams’ statement on DeMarco’s appointment.] Federal Housing Finance Agency director James Lockhart said Thursday he will leave his post as head of the agency. HousingWire‘s sources at a major regulator late Wednesday confirmed Lockhart would soon resign. In a statement issued hours later, Lockhart said Ed DeMarco will step into the role of acting director. DeMarco takes on the responsibility after serving the past year as chief operating officer and senior deputy director for housing mission and goals at FHFA. “This has been one of the most challenging and rewarding assignments of my career and I am very pleased with the work we have been able to accomplish through a very difficult period,” Lockhart said. “As the housing market is starting to stabilize and the housing GSEs are strongly supporting the mortgage markets and other financial institutions, it is time for me to move on to the next chapter.” At the FHFA, Lockhart regulated mortgage finance giants Freddie Mac (FRE) and Fannie Mae (FNM). He took the role more than a year ago when the Housing and Economic Recovery Act set up the FHFA. Fannie’s CEO, Michael Williams, issued a statement Thursday thanking Lockhart for his support during Williams’ recent transition to the role of Fannie CEO. “I congratulate Ed DeMarco on his appointment as the Acting Director of FHFA and look forward to working closely with him in the days ahead,” Williams said. “Director DeMarco was instrumental in helping to develop and oversee Fannie Mae’s participation in the [Making Home Affordable] program, and I look forward to his leadership as we continue to implement initiatives supporting foreclosure prevention and sustainable homeownership.” Fannie and Freddie may soon face issues of their own, as Moody’s Investors Service recently said the US government may begin to wind down their business within 18 months. Analysts at the rating agency pointed to quarterly losses at the government-sponsored enterprises ever since late 2007 to indicate a far less costly alternative would be for the government to resolve their business. Write to Diana Golobay.

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