WASHINGTON — Mark Calabria was sworn in Monday as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, where he will serve a five-year term.
Calabria, who was most recently the chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, takes the helm of the agency regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting served as acting director for four months. Mel Watt, the former director and an Obama appointee, stepped down in January.
“FHFA has made tremendous progress since its birth in 2008, a development I’ve continued to watch with great interest from the outside,” Calabria said at his swearing-in ceremony. “It is my foremost objective to cement those gains. … It is all too easy to watch regulatory improvements erode as the memory of the last crisis fades.”
Calabria called his nomination “the greatest honor” of his life and thanked President Trump for his leadership on housing finance reform. A March 27 memo released by the Trump administration directed the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to submit legislative and administrative reform plans with the objective of ending the conservatorship of the government-sponsored enterprises.
“The recently signed presidential memo lays out a constructive path for mortgage finance reform,” Calabria said. “I look forward to working with the administration on this issue.”
While Calabria called himself a “numbers guy” at heart, he promised to weigh the impact on families when considering changes to mortgage finance policy.
“After years of strong house price growth, too many remain locked out of housing, while others are dangerously leveraged,” he said. “We must not let this opportunity for reform pass.”