January 06, 2014

Berger, Hunt attend Watt swearing-in

Jan. 7, 2014 – Mel Watt was sworn in Monday as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency during a ceremony attended by NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt.

Watt was sworn in by Transportation Secretary and former Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx. "Today's housing finance system is one of the keys to our economic recovery and I am grateful for the opportunity to help develop a strong foundation for moving this system forward for the benefit of all Americans at this critical point in our nation's history," Watt said.

Berger, following the swearing-in, said, "We look forward to working with FHFA Director Watt as he fills this important post. We appreciate his consideration on the issue of mortgage fee increases and hope to make continued progress as we work to ensure the needs of credit unions are met in future housing reform efforts."

Watt has already announced that he will delay the implementation of planned mortgage-fee increases until he can evaluate the plan further; NAFCU strongly supports the delay.

FHFA announced a 10-basis-points increase in guarantee fees, or g-fees, last month as well as an increase in its loan-level price adjustment, which is typically passed onto borrowers, for certain single-family loans with maturities greater than 15 years. NAFCU objected strongly to the planned fee increases. Watt later said he planned to hold off on the fee hikes for further review.

NAFCU will continue to monitor actions within FHFA to ensure preservation of credit unions' guaranteed access to the secondary mortgage market and fair pricing based on loan quality, not volume, in any iteration of housing finance reform.

Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, served in the House of Representatives since 1992. He was confirmed to the FHFA post in December after being nominated by President Obama. Watt fills the post Ed DeMarco held in acting capacity since 2009 and will control the agency's ongoing conservatorship of government-sponsored agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the supervision and regulation of the Federal Home Loan Banks.