WASHINGTON – After President Joe Biden's ousting of Mark Calabria on June 23, speculation has intensified over the government's election to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a new avenue for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It remains to be seen how quickly Biden will nominate a permanent FHFA director. After all, he has not yet given Congress a name for another important financial oversight position: the head of the currency auditor's office. But given how quickly the Calabria government sacked a major Supreme Court decision and the importance of housing construction to economic recovery, a nomination could be coming soon.
After the Supreme Court ruled on June 23 that the President had the power to dismiss the FHFA director at will, Biden exercised that power almost immediately. Later in the day, senior FHFA official Sandra Thompson was named assistant director of the agency.
Calabria, a libertarian economist appointed by then-President Donald Trump, took over the helm of the FHFA in April 2019 and made it clear from the start that its goal was to get the state-sponsored companies on a path out of the conservatoire.
While Biden has not made his stance on GSE reform clear, his government is likely to depart from Calabria on several major policy decisions. This could include easing the restrictions that Calabria codified with then Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on GSE purchases of certain "high-risk" loans. Many fear that they will restrict access to credit.
Although it is still unclear who the administration is looking for for the job, here is a list of potential FHFA bosses in the Biden administration.