President Biden will nominate Sandra Thompson to become the permanent director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the White House announced in a statement on Tuesday.
Thompson is the current acting head of the FHFA, having taken over the position in June when Biden replaced Mark Calabria. She would serve a five-year term after her approval by the Senate.
Though Thompson has held the position since June, her nomination was at one point in question. Biden faced criticism in September when rumors spread that he was considering nominating Center for Responsible Lending President Michael Calhoun.
Thompson maintained support among Democratic politicians focused on housing, especially House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, which may have solidified her position.
“We will not find a more qualified, more dedicated, or more deserving public servant than Ms. Thompson to lead the FHFA at this moment in our nation’s history,” Waters said of Thompson.
As the agency responsible for overseeing industry giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHFA appointment is of particular interest to the mortgage industry. Their response since the announcement has been positive.
The Community Home Lenders Association released a statement in response to the nomination, saying, “CHLA strongly and unequivocally supports the President’s nomination of Sandra Thompson to be FHFA Director. In her short tenure as Acting FHFA Director, Ms. Thompson has more than proved her capability to be the right person for the job – moving decisively to suspend the counterproductive PSPA restrictions and taking a number of actions to promote the GSEs’ access to credit for underserved and minority borrowers.”
Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Bob Broeksmit also supported the nomination in a statement, saying the organization “applauds” the decision.
“Thompson’s in-depth expertise as a regulator and her experience in real estate finance makes her the perfect choice to lead FHFA,” the statement reads.
“Since assuming the position of Acting Director in June, Thompson has addressed several topline issues… We hope that this will be a quick confirmation process and look forward to continuing our work with Acting Director Thompson, FHFA, and the GSEs to ensure a stable and robust secondary mortgage market for a wide variety of single-family and multifamily lenders, regardless of size or business model.”
Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said, “We fully support her nomination to the five-year position.”
Calhoun, her rumored former opponent, also issued a statement in which he encouraged the Senate to confirm her as director without delay.
Under Thompson, the FHFA is expected to turn away from a Trump-era plan to end Fannie and Freddie’s conservatorship, focus on affordable housing, and push for equality in mortgage lending.
“As a longtime regulator, I am committed to making sure our nation’s housing finance systems and our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner,” Thompson said in June. “We can accomplish this, and at the same time have a laser focus on mission and community investment. There is a widespread lack of affordable housing and access to credit, especially in communities of color.”