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Industry Reacts to Brian Montgomery as FHA Commissioner

After months of delays, Brian Montgomery’s nomination for Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has finally been approved by the Senate by a vote of 74-23.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve with Secretary Carson and the team at HUD to further equal access to affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities and seek solutions to restore vitality to the housing market,” Montgomery said in a statement.

"Brian brings a wealth of housing knowledge and experience to HUD having held this position in two previous administrations, and we are excited to welcome him back to the Agency,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “FHA’s work is critical to HUD’s mission of advancing sustainable homeownership opportunities and quality affordable housing for all Americans. Brian understands this better than anyone and will be ready on day one to address the challenges of today’s housing market.”

"Mr. Montgomery’s confirmation could not come at a more important time," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling. "FHA today remains at crossroads, having suffered from years of mission creep, politically-directed giveaways, and financial mismanagement under the Obama Administration. Their high-risk combination of cheap, up-front pricing and elevated maximum loan limits swelled the total size of FHA’s insurance book, morphing it from a mortgage insurer of last resort to the dominant insurer displacing private investment. Fixing these problems and undoing the damage to the FHA’s brand will be a challenge. However, I believe that by right-sizing the FHA to focus on its traditional mission of helping creditworthy low- and moderate-income individuals and by adhering to actuarially sound underwriting, Mr. Montgomery can help restore credibility to this important decades-old government program.”

"I would like to congratulate the Senate on confirming Brian Montgomery," Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado said. "Throughout the confirmation process, Montgomery has exhibited poise and steadiness that speaks to the President's motivation to choose him to lead an agency of central importance to the federal housing system. He is a fitting choice for the position and I look forward to working with him as he leads the FHA in the years to come."

HUD Secretary Ben Carson calls to congratulate Montgomery, via Carson's Twitter

“The FHA is an agency critically important to both the mortgage and housing markets, and there’s no one more qualified, with more experience, or a better vision of what the agency’s role should be than Brian Montgomery," said Rick Sharga, EVP, Carrington Mortgage Holdings. "A $1.5 trillion enterprise like the FHA needs strong leadership, and someone who understands how to make the FHA work with lenders to provide thousands of Americans with an opportunity for home ownership that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Brian fills the bill on both counts."

In a statement, National Association of Realtors President Elizabeth Mendenhall said, “Brian Montgomery served as Federal Housing Administration commissioner during one of the most critical periods in the history of America’s housing industry. He has shown the ability to lead and understands the essential role the FHA plays in addressing affordability and facilitating homeownership in the U.S., particularly for first-time home buyers. Realtors congratulate Commissioner Montgomery on his confirmation and look forward to working with his FHA to make the dream of homeownership a reality for millions of additional Americans."

Montgomery, an industry veteran, served in the Executive Office of the President during the Administration of President George W. Bush before transitioning to his role as Assistant Secretary at HUD and FHA Commissioner under Presidents Bush and Obama. In recent years, he has served as Vice Chairman at The Collingwood Group, LLC, a Washington DC-based real estate finance consulting firm.

In April, Delgado, on behalf of multiple trade organizations, sent a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, congratulating him on working with the administration to lead the confirmation process of a record number of nominees to the federal bench, but urging that the Senate move on Montgomery's nomination.

In his letter, Delgado outlined the importance of the FHA to the mortgage industry and in preserving the American Dream of homeownership, citing that the agency’s portfolio totals more than $1.37 trillion dollars in assets; has provided mortgage insurance for 47.5 million single-family homes and since its inception; and in 2017, FHA insured 37.7 percent of all mortgages provided to racial or ethnic minorities.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mentioned Sen. Tammy Duckworth's temporary hold on HUD nominees. Sen. Duckworth lifted that hold on May 3, 2018, after approximately two weeks.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has over 17 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. Wharton and his family currently reside in Arlington, Texas. He can be reached at David.Wharton@thefivestar.com.

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