The Senate confirmed Mark Calabria, former Chief Economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to a five-year term as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) by a vote of 52-44 on April 4. Calabria will replace Acting FHFA Director Joseph Otting. Otting had previously taken over for Mel Watt, a former Congressman who held the FHFA Director position from January 2014 to January 2019. The FHFA Director is the head of the regulatory agency responsible for regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a job that includes administration of their current conservatorship.
As we have noted in previous updates, the FHFA Director has broad oversight and authority with respect to the Enterprises. As Calabria appoints his senior advisor team in the coming weeks, he will also be reviewing policy decisions made by the previous Directors and weighing adjustments he believes better reflect the priorities of the current Administration.
Just last week, now Acting FHFA Director Otting released payments for the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund from the Enterprises, suggesting there will not be a rush to dramatically change course for the Enterprises, at least in the near term.
During Calabria’s confirmation hearing, he commented on his views of the multifamily businesses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, acknowledging they performed well during the economic crisis since they were much better underwritten. Additionally, he expressed that he does not believe we need the same sort of changes on the multifamily side of the GSEs as are contemplated for the single-family side.
From now through the end of the year, Calabria will work on a Scorecard for the Enterprises in 2020 – as Treasury and HUD develop a housing finance reform proposal, which the President requested in a March executive directive.
NMHC and NAA will engage policymakers on both efforts, as each could have significant implications for the multifamily industry.