MBA, Trade Groups Urge Senate to Approve Calabria as FHFA Director

Mike Sorohan msorohan@mba.org

April 02, 2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association and nearly two dozen industry trade groups asked the Senate to approve Mark Calabria, the Trump Administration's nominee to serve as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The Apr. 1 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praises Calabria as a "respected expert in housing finance with detailed knowledge of the intricacies of the housing and mortgage finance markets."

"As one of the Congressional staffers who helped craft the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Dr. Calabria has demonstrated a keen understanding of the critical role of the FHFA as both regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," the letter said. "Dr. Calabria understands the need for FHFA to be transparent and methodical in its development and enforcement of policies."

MarkCalabriaPresident Trump nominated Calabria in December, shortly before the end of Mel Watt's five-year term as FHFA director. The Senate Banking Committee approved his nomination on Feb. 26 by a 13-12 vote along party lines.

Calabria most recently served as chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence. Previously, he worked on staff of the Senate Banking Committee where helped the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created FHFA. Earlier, he worked for HUD under the George W. Bush administration and worked previously for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors.

MBA and the trade groups urged the Senate to move quickly. "It is critical for the Senate to proceed expeditiously to confirm a permanent Director at the FHFA in order to best promote an efficient national secondary mortgage market that facilitates access to affordable mortgage financing for all creditworthy borrowers during all market conditions," the letter said. "Dr. Calabria recognizes the need to balance this mission with the protection of taxpayers from mortgage credit risk while avoiding market disruptions when improving and implementing policy. Any new Director should also maintain increased transparency with essential public feedback to guarantee that any potential changes are in the best interests of consumers, the supporting industries and the overall economy."

The letter noted Calabria has a "deep understanding of the secondary mortgage market and the complex policy issues that affect the entities" FHFA oversees. "We respectfully request the swift confirmation of Dr. Calabria as Director of the FHFA to protect and ensure the continuation of a strong real estate market and overall economy."

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