Biden nominates Sandra Thompson as FHFA director

Greg Nash

President Biden on Tuesday nominated acting Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra L. Thompson to be the regulator’s full-time leader.

Thompson, if approved by the Senate, would be confirmed for a five-year term leading the agency overseeing more than $7 trillion in federally backed home loans. Biden appointed Thompson to be the FHFA acting director in June after the president fired former Director Mark Calabria, a Trump appointee, following a Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way.

Thompson was the deputy director of FHFA’s Division of Housing Mission and Goals since 2013 before being appointed as acting director. She joined the FHFA after more than 23 years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., “leading the examination and enforcement program for risk management and consumer protection at the height of the financial crisis,” the White House said Tuesday.

The FHFA was created in 2008 to be the overseer and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — two government-sponsored enterprises that purchase home loans from banks and mortgage lenders and sell those loans as mortgage-backed securities. The FHFA also oversees the Federal Home Loan Bank system.

Thompson is likely to face scrutiny over her views on whether Fannie and Freddie should be released from control of the federal government, a longtime goal of Republican lawmakers and right-leaning policymakers. She would need the unanimous support of all 50 Senate Democrats to be confirmed without a Republican supporter

Critics of the Fannie and Freddie conservatorship say the U.S. should instead make internal reforms to each that would allow them to withstand market forces without the Treasury Department’s backing. Democratic lawmakers and affordable housing advocates insist releasing Fannie and Freddie could stifle affordable home loans amid a record run-up in housing prices.

“While leading the Federal Housing Finance Agency as Acting Director, Ms. Thompson has refocused regulation of the GSEs on ensuring that they fulfill their mission to provide safe, sustainable access to housing across the country,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. “I look forward to holding her nomination hearing soon and encourage my colleagues to support her nomination.”

Tags Joe Biden Mark Calabria Sherrod Brown

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