After a Supreme Court ruling paved the way for the Biden administration to fire Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria at will, President Joe Biden is taking swift action.
In a statement, a White House official told HousingWire that Biden planned to replace Calabria, a Trump appointee and vocal critic of the Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs), before the end of the day.
“FHFA has an important mission of oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank System,” the White House official said. “It is critical that the agency implement the Administration’s housing policies. As a result, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision today, the President is moving forward today to replace the current Director with an appointee who reflects the Administration’s values.”
It wasn’t immediately clear who would take Calabria’s place when he’s terminated. The FHFA did not immediately comment.
The Biden administration has not seen eye-to-eye with Calabria on the role the GSEs play in the mortgage market. Calabria has sought to build up the entities’ capital reserves and reduce their footprint in the market.
Fannie and Freddie guarantee about half of the $11 trillion U.S. mortgage market. Upon the Supreme Court ruling, shares for the GSEs initially tumbled 40%.
Calabria had pushed to remove the companies from conservatorship, but ran out of time to do so in the twilight of the Trump administration. The Biden administration has not shown any interest in ending the arrangement.
In recent months, as exiting conservatorship appears increasingly unlikely, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have seen a string of high-level departures. In June, the FHFA launched a review of executive compensation at the GSEs.
After the Supreme Court decision, few rose to defend Calabria, a Trump-appointee whose recent actions have drawn ire from many corners of the mortgage industry. Trade associations, housing advocate groups and Washington, D.C. insiders urged the Biden administration to replace Calabria without delay.
Mortgage Bankers Association President Bob Broeksmit said in a statement that the trade group appreciates the impact of the Supreme Court decision.
“We expect President Biden will move quickly to appoint a successor, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the administration, FHFA, and other stakeholders to ensure those markets function well for lenders and the American consumers they serve,” Broeksmit wrote on Wednesday.
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