Former Chief Economist to Vice President Mike Pence Dr. Mark A. Calabria began his role as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Monday. Calabria enters into a five-year term term as the second Senate-confirmed FHFA Director. During his swearing-in ceremony, Calabria spoke on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the FHFA’s ongoing role as conservator of the GSEs and regulator.
“FHFA has made tremendous progress since its birth in 2008, a development I’ve continued to watch with great interest from the outside,” said Calabria. “It is my foremost objective to cement those gains. It is all too easy to watch regulatory improvements erode as the memory of the last crisis fades.”
According to Calabria, there is “more work to do.”
“Markets change and advance, so must we,” he continued. Calabria states that he enters into this new role with a “great sense of urgency.”
“The mortgage market was at the center of the last crisis, as it has been for many past financial crises, both in America and globally,” he said. “I believe the foundations of our current mortgage finance system remain vulnerable. After years of strong house price growth, too many remain locked out of housing, while others are dangerously leveraged. We must not let this opportunity for reform pass.”
Calabria’s priorities as Director include ensuring that the GSEs were, "well capitalized, well managed, and well regulated." During his nomination hearing, Calabria gave an outline of what his priorities would be if confirmed. Calabria said that a number of critical elements were needed in reform such as a "greater need for competition." He said the current FHFA mandate was clearly where "the regulator cannot make such changes." As a result, he said, "The very broad changes that have to happen in the mortgage finance system have to be done by Congress."
Calabria said that if he was confirmed as the FHFA Director his objective would be to ensure the GSEs were, "well capitalized, well managed, and well regulated."
In Monday’s speech, Calabria reinforced his plan for reform.
“I remain optimistic about America’s housing and mortgage market. But I remain so, because I know together all of us can build a stronger, more secure foundation under that market for all Americans.”