Influential Congresswoman Maxine Waters has waded into the growing debate about who should lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). And her pick – though she doesn’t get a vote – is the acting director, Sandra Thompson.
“Appointed on June 23 as acting director, Ms. Thompson has needed little time to show this nation how uniquely qualified she is to serve at the helm of FHFA,” Waters said in a statement late Thursday night. “Her understanding of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks as government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) is undeniable. Her commitment to ensuring that the GSEs are both well capitalized and using their status to expand low-cost mortgage credit to all communities is illustrated in her actions. More importantly, her commitment to accountability and transparency will be invaluable to ensuring the GSEs are operating in the best interest of taxpayers.”
Waters, who chairs the powerful House Committee on Financial Services, called on President Joe Biden to make Thompson’s temporary appointment permanent. She said it’s “critical to have an FHFA Director who is committed to advancing housing affordability, expanding the dream of homeownership, and closing the racial wealth gap in this country.”
Thompson, a career staffer at the FHFA who previously worked at the FDIC for 23 years, has moved quickly to advance the White House’s housing agenda.
In the past two months, she has eliminated the adverse market refinance fee, a Trump-era initiative that tacked on 50 basis points to most refinancings. She’s also made it more difficult for multifamily lenders to evict tenants at properties finances with Fannie and Freddie mortgages; pushed for rental payment history to be included in borrower credit risk assessments; introduced new fair housing goals for the GSEs designed to boost sales to low-income homebuyers; and worked with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to suspend elements of the the GSEs’ preferred stock purchase agreements that critics said reduced the availability of credit and actually increased risk-taking.
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