January 03, 2014

Watt takes FHFA director post today

Jan. 6, 2014 – Mel Watt, former Democratic member of the House of Representatives from North Carolina, will be sworn in as the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency today at 11 a.m. Eastern.

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt will attend. "We congratulate Mel Watt on his new post and look forward to working with him and the FHFA on issues important to credit unions," Berger said.

Confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 10 by a vote of 57 to 41, Watt will fill the post Ed DeMarco has held in acting capacity since 2009. As FHFA director, Watt will exercise direct control over the regulation, supervision and conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He will also oversee the regulation and supervision of the Federal Home Loan Banks.

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 and said it also planned to increase 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.