Watt set to take helm as a top housing regulator

Rep. Mel Watt will take the reins on Monday of the regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Watt, who will be sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on Monday afternoon, will take over for acting director Edward DeMarco, who has led the Federal Housing Finance Agency since 2009. 

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Fannie and Freddie finally get a permanent director in place has Congress attempts to cobble together legislation that would overhaul the government-controlled agencies and wind them down to lure private investment back into the market.

Watt, who was confimed by the Senate last month, has already said he would halt the implementation of loan-fee increase that was scheduled to go into effect in March. 

The fee, which DeMarco said would start the process of boosting private investment in the mortgage market, was opposed by industry groups who said it would raise costs for borrowers and would not spur the much-needed rebalancing of public-private investment and could hamper the housing recovery.

The mortgage market is facing with a slew of challenges this year, including the start of a new set of federal regulations this week that some industry experts say could further constrain already tight credit. 

To counter any possible negative effects on the hosusing market, Watt may aim to work toward ensuring that eligible borrowers can get mortgages while Congress works on its role of producing legislation that would wind down Fannie and Freddie.