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Sandra Thompson Officially Named Head of FHFA

Sandra L. Thompson, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency

Sandra L. Thompson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Wednesday afternoon as the next Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), by a narrow vote of 49-46.

“NAR applauds the U.S. Senate for confirming Sandra Thompson to lead FHFA,” said National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Leslie Rouda Smith. “Her experience will benefit the enterprises, homeowners, homebuyers and the mortgage financing ecosystem as a whole. Director Thompson’s confirmation comes at a time when the housing market and mortgage finance system face historic challenges, including critical questions related to housing affordability, accessibility, and inventory. We look forward to working with her and the entire FHFA to identify solutions that will secure the future of housing finance in America.”

Since March 2013, as the Division of Housing Mission and Goals (DHMG) Deputy Director, Thompson oversaw the FHFA’s housing and regulatory policy, capital policy, financial analysis, fair lending and all mission activities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

On June 23, 2021, the White House appointed Thompson as Acting Director of the FHFA, and prior to that, served as Deputy Director of the DHMG. Her official nomination was sent to the Senate by President Joe Biden on December 17, 2021. On March 16, 2022, the Senate Banking Committee advanced Thompson’s nomination by a vote of 13-11.

“MBA applauds the confirmation of Sandra Thompson to continue leading the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” said Bob Broeksmit, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). “Since being appointed Acting Director in June 2021, she has repeatedly demonstrated leadership, expertise, and a strong commitment to sound risk management principles, while safely expanding access to mortgage credit and creating equitable and sustainable housing solutions for homeowners and renters.”

Prior to joining the FHFA, Thompson worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for more than 23 years in a variety of leadership positions, including as Director of the Division of Risk Management Supervision. During her tenure at the FDIC, Thompson led the agency’s examination and enforcement program for risk management and consumer protection. She also led the FDIC’s outreach initiatives in response to a crisis of consumer confidence in the banking system. Her experiences range from supervision to consumer protection, risk management, and consumer outreach activities.

Earlier this year under Thompson’s guidance, the FHFA has published a final rule amending the Enterprise Regulatory Capital Framework (ERCF) by refining the prescribed leverage buffer amount (leverage buffer), and risk-based capital treatment of retained credit risk transfer (CRT) exposures for the government-sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

Also earlier this year, Thompson helped guide the FHFA in drafting its strategic plan for 2022-2026, a “transparent roadmap” that will guide the agency in its role as regulator of the Federal Home Loan Bank System and as regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the FHFA’s Strategic Plan, Thompson names three major objectives that aim to guide the agency in its business: to secure the regulated entities' safety and soundness, foster housing finance markets that promote equitable access to affordable and sustainable housing, and to responsibly steward FHFA's infrastructure.

“We look forward to continuing our important work with Director Thompson, FHFA, the GSEs, and other stakeholders to provide affordable housing opportunities for all Americans, while protecting taxpayers and ensuring a robust secondary mortgage market for single-family and multifamily lenders of all sizes and business models,” added Broeksmit.

“U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) and our member companies congratulate Sandra Thompson on her bipartisan Senate confirmation to serve as the next FHFA Director,” said Lindsey Johnson, President of USMI. “Thompson has been serving as the agency’s Acting Director since June 2021 and understands the importance of ensuring the safety and soundness of the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the housing finance system. We are confident that she will continue to help instill strength into the housing finance system as families face barriers to homeownership due to severely limited supply and record home price appreciation. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Director Thompson in seeking ways to establish a more collaborative, transparent, and consistent housing policy that ensures homebuyers have affordable and prudent options for low down payment mortgage finance credit, while also protecting taxpayers and the U.S. government from undue risk.”

Click here to view the exclusive DSNews interview with Thompson from the April 2022 print edition, "Working Toward Equity and Sustainability."

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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