White House Names FHFA Appointee

On November 12, it was announced that President Obama will nominate North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph A. Smith, Jr. to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

FHFA was established in 2008 through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), which placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. FHFA has oversight and regulatory authority over Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. As of June 2008, the combined debt and obligations of these GSEs totaled $6.6 trillion. The GSEs also purchase or guarantee 84 percent of new mortgages.

Edward J. DeMarco has served as the acting director of FHFA since August 2009. Lawmakers, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), had been pressing President Obama to name a permanent director to the agency. The agency is expected to release its plan for ending GSE conservatorship in January 2011.

Mr. Smith was named North Carolina Banking Commissioner in 2002 by then Governor Mike Easley. Prior to this he served in the law firm of Thacher, Proffitt and Wood. He has also served as General Counsel and Secretary for Centura Banks, Inc.

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