As expected, President Obama announced yesterday the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to be Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD), whose panel has jurisdiction over the nomination, called Rep. Watt “a superb pick to lead the FHFA.”
Because Rep. Watt has voiced support for mortgage reform, his nomination is not anticipated to affect the FHFA's proposal on lender-placed insurance and captive re-insurance. The ABIA is submitting a comment letter on May 24, 2013 that addresses the FHFA's proposal.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said Rep. Watt is a “well-respected” Member, but that “he is not the issue.”
“FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco has emphasized protecting the interests of taxpayers and reforming Fannie and Freddie,” Chairman Hensarling said. “Unsurprisingly, this has put him in conflict with the Administration. Whoever sits in the FHFA Director’s chair needs to continue DeMarco’s policies. If they simply do whatever the Administration wants, they will have failed.”
Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) offered her endorsement of the nomination, saying Rep. Watt’s previous “legislative work demonstrates unwavering commitment to protecting consumers, expanding affordable rental housing, and providing prudent oversight of financial institutions.”
Rep. Watt, a Member of the Financial Services Committee, is in his 11th term representing the Charlotte-based 12th district. The FHFA has been headed by an Acting Director since 2009.