President Obama will nominate Joseph Smith as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, according to the White House. The administration put out an official announcement Friday, but the news was first reported by Bloomberg. The FHFA has been the conservator of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks since 2008. Smith will replace the current acting director Edward DeMarco and will play a pivotal role in the fate of the troubled government-sponsored enterprises. Smith has been the North Carolina commissioner of banks since June 2002, and will remain in  that post until March 31. The Senate needs to confirm Smith as head of the FHFA. "Mr. Smith brings to this position both tremendous expertise and a deep commitment to strengthening our housing finance system for the American people," Obama said. "I’m grateful that he has accepted this nomination, and I look forward to working with him in the months and years to come." Richard Neiman, the superintendent of banks in the state of New York supported the decision, citing Smith's advocacy for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, NMLS, which helped the 50 states coordinate industry accountability. "Joe is a proven leader in the supervision of banks and nonbanks involved in the mortgage industry, including origination, lending and servicing," Neiman said. "The states' loss of Joe is the nation's gain today. The Administration is fortunate to soon have his wise counsel, and homeowners across America will be better off with a new passionate ally in Washington." In the third quarter, Fannie reported $3.5 billion in losses, including a $2.1 billion dividend payment the Treasury Department, while Freddie posted $2.5 billion in losses. Write to Jon Prior.