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President Trump Designates FHFA Acting Director

Followed by the President’s announcement appointing him as the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Joseph Otting, the current OCC Chief, released a statement [1] on Friday, expressing his thoughts on the new role.

Speaking of his designation at FHFA, Otting said he looks forward to serving in this additional role until a permanent Director is confirmed and appointed. “I am honored that President Trump has named me Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” he said. 

Melvin Watt notified the White House of his departure on January 6, 2019—the end of his term as the current FHFA Director. Congratulating Otting on his new designation, Watt in his statement [2], said “I have served with Comptroller Otting as a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and both the OCC and FHFA have offices in the same building. The highly professional staff at FHFA and I look forward to working with him to ensure a seamless transition.”

Otting will serve as Acting Director upon Watt’s departure, while concurrently carrying out his duties as Comptroller of the Currency, according to the statement.  “I want to thank outgoing Director Mel Watt for his long service to the country,” said Otting.

“I look forward to continuing the vital work of the OCC to ensure the federal banking system operates in a safe, sound, and fair manner just as I look forward to leading the FHFA in its important roles overseeing the Federal Home Loan Bank System and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” he added.

Highlighting the work of OCC this year, Otting emphasized the progress made by the federal banking system in encouraging economic growth and creating jobs. He intends to continue that work into the new year by “modernizing the regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act, making Bank Secrecy Act compliance more efficient and effective, encouraging banks to provide customers more short-term small dollar credit options, and supporting responsible innovation in the federal banking system by beginning to accept national bank charter applications from fintech companies engaged in the business of banking.”

In his statement, Otting pointed out that leading both the OCC and FHFA successfully would not be possible without the “quality staff and leadership at both agencies.”