WASHINGTON – House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters urges President Biden to appoint Sandra Thompson, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, permanent director of the agency and describe Thompson as "uniquely qualified" to lead the agency.
The California Democrat released a statement late Thursday night outlining Thompson's accomplishments as acting FHFA director during the three months she served in that role.
Waters ‘contribution could complicate the government process of selecting a chief for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's regulator. Her statement came amid rumors that Biden is considering nominating Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending.
"Appointed assistant director on June 23, it took Ms. Thompson little time to show this nation how uniquely qualified they are to serve at the top of the FHFA," Waters said in the statement. "Their commitment to ensuring that the [government sponsored companies] are both well capitalized and using their status to expand low-cost mortgage lending to all communities is exemplified in their actions."
"Appointed assistant director on June 23, it took Ms. Thompson little time to show this nation how uniquely qualified they are to serve at the top of the FHFA," said Maxine Waters, chairwoman of House Financial Services.
Thompson was named assistant director of FHFA after Biden ousted former director Mark Calabria in June. The Supreme Court had ruled that the president could dismiss the head of the agency at will.
Though Waters didn't name Calhoun in her statement, she suggested that Biden would be unwise to replace a black person to head the agency.
"It is in part because of the past and the persistent lack of people of color representation in the upper echelons of our financial regulators that we are seeing severe racial and economic inequalities across our country today," said Waters. "We will not find a more qualified, dedicated, or more deserving officer than Ms. Thompson to lead the FHFA at this moment in our nation's history."
Waters added that while Congress and the White House work to implement the Biden administration's agenda, “having an FHFA director committed to promoting housing affordability, the dream of home ownership, will be critical to expand and close the racial wealth gap in this country. ”
It is still unclear where the White House stands in the nomination of the FHFA director. But Waters & # 39; Support for Thompson could make Calhoun's nomination difficult as California lawmakers influence among progressives and at the top of the House Financial Services Committee.
Waters highlighted several actions Thompson has taken as acting FHFA director, including removing the adverse market refinancing fee, entering into an agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to strengthen enforcement of fair lending for the GSEs, and proposing targets for affordable housing for Fannie and Freddie, which for the first time included a subcategory that included lending to minority neighborhoods.