Senate To Confirm New FHA Chief, Reverse Mortgage Changes to Come

The U.S. Senate on Sunday confirmed Carol Galante as the new Federal Housing Administration commissioner and assistant secretary for housing. In her previous role as acting commissioner, Galante stated she is in favor of changes to FHA’s reverse mortgage program including a moratorium on the fixed-rate, full-draw Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Standard product.

In a letter written by Galante in December to Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, she stated her commitment to FHA changes including the reverse mortgage changes in an effort to shore up the administration’s finances. An independent audit of the FHA’s mortgage insurance fund showed a $16 billion-plus deficit in the fund’s net worth including a negative $2.8 billion in net worth of the HECM fund.

The changes will take place by January 31, according to the letter.

In a December hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, republican senators questioned Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan as to the agency’s leadership and ability to manage the funds. Today, Donovan praised the Senate’s pledge of support to Galante’s role as commissioner.

“Today, the United States Senate took the important step of confirming Carol Galante to become the next Assistant Secretary for Housing and Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA),” Donovan said in a statement Sunday. “I am pleased that a bipartisan majority in the Senate agreed that Carol offers responsible leadership at a time when we are pursuing necessary reforms to stabilize FHA’s financial outlook.”

Galante has served since mid-2011 as acting commissioner and assistant secretary. Previously she has held positions within HUD as well as the private sector.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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