Official stepping down from housing agency

One of the nation’s top housing officials is expected to leave the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) this year for an academic job in California. 

FHA Commissioner Carol Galante is heading to the University of California at Berkeley after steering the agency through the rockiest financial period in its history.


David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, called her departure “a great loss for the industry as well as to HUD,” referring to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“Carol was a tremendous asset to both in very difficult times,” he said. 

Last year, the FHA requested a $1.7 billion cash infusion from the Treasury Department to balance its books, its first ever in its 80-year history, as bad mortgages backed between 2007 and 2009 and a reverse mortgage program weighed down its finances.

Still, the financial health of the FHA has been improving thanks to loans made by the agency since the the financial crisis.

Galante also made a series of changes to get the agency out of its deep financial hole, including raising premiums and improving underwriting standards.

"She has worked tirelessly on the critical reforms to further strengthen FHA’s risk management that have helped restore the financial health of the MMI [Mortgage Mutual Insurance] fund," Stevens said.  

"Throughout it all, she has been a strong advocate for FHA’s primary role providing safe, affordable, sustainable housing opportunities for all Americans."

An official announcement from the Obama administration about Galante's departure could come sometime this week. 

“UC Berkley will be fortunate to have Carol on faculty, and I look forward to continuing to work with her as part of the broad stakeholder community dedicated to ensuring that the U.S. housing system remains the envy the world," Stevens said.