President's pick to oversee Fannie, Freddie opting to stay at current job

"I am grateful that she intends to take this action and hope that the General Assembly will confirm the nomination when it is presented to them," Smith said in a statement. "It has been my honor to serve the people of North Carolina as commissioner since 2002, and I look forward to continuing my service in the future."

Smith's decision to stay put leaves the administration without an appointed director overseeing troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the administration's report on how to reform the housing finance system is due in a matter of days, and Republicans have identified an overhaul of Fannie and Freddie as a top priority.

Smith's nomination was cleared by the Senate Banking Committee in 2010, but the full Senate failed to act on the nomination. Smith was subject to strong criticism from some Senate Republicans during the nomination process, including Banking Committee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who suggested Smith would be susceptible to administration pressure on housing policy.

The FHFA has been run by Edward DeMarco, who has served as acting director since Aug. 2009.