Calabria Takes the Reins as Director of FHFA

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Mark Calabria is now officially the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), following a swearing-in ceremony held Monday, and will serve a five-year term.

Calabria, President Trump’s pick to lead the agency, had been serving as chief economist to Vice President Mike Pence. He was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month.

Calabria takes the reins from Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, who had been serving as acting director of the FHFA following the departure of former director Mel Watt, whose term ended in January.

Calabria was previously director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute. He also spent six years as a senior aide to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, where he handled issues related to housing, mortgage finance, economics, banking and insurance.

Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, Calabria served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He has also held a variety of positions at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors.

Calabria has also been a research associate with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies.

Calabria is a proponent of housing finance reform and has said in earlier statements that he supports the end of conservatorship for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“I enter this office with a sense of urgency,” Calabria says in a statement. “The foundations of our mortgage finance system remain vulnerable, and we must not let this opportunity for reform pass.”

The Trump Administration has been pushing for housing finance reform. In March, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the Treasury Department and HUD, along with other government agencies connected with the housing market, to enact housing finance reform including a plan for releasing the companies from conservatorship.

The plan directs the Treasury and HUD to work with other housing-related federal agencies to determine which reform measures can be handled administratively and which will require an act of Congress.

As director of the FHFA, regulator of the GSEs, Calabria could end up playing a large role in the end of conservatorship.

In addition, Adolfo Marzol has been appointed principal deputy director of the FHFA.

Marzol, who will report to Calabria, is an experienced financial and risk management professional in the mortgage finance industry. Previously, he served for two years as senior advisor for housing to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, where he advised on Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae programs, as well as housing finance reform.

Marzol has more than 30 years of private sector experience in mortgage finance, including senior-level positions at Essent, Fannie Mae, Chase Mortgage and Equitable Mortgage.

His diverse background includes extensive experience in the areas of mortgage origination and securitization, mortgage servicing, credit risk management, financial management and reporting, policy and governance, and public policy developments related to housing finance.

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