The Real Deal New York

Trump taps Mark Calabria as new head of Federal Housing Finance Agency

Calabria currently serves as Mike Pence's chief economist
December 12, 2018 11:00AM

Mark Calabria and Donald Trump (Credit: Cato Institute and Getty Images)

President Trump has tapped Mark Calabria to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Calabria, who currently serves as chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, previously served as a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee and as deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during President George W. Bush’s administration. He’s also held positions at National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors.

Trump announced Tuesday night that he planned to nominate Calabria after rumors began to surface that he was the president’s pick, according to Housing Wire. Calabria still awaits approval from the Senate.

Mel Watt, an Obama-era appointee and current head of the FHFA, is expected to leave office in January, when his five-year term expires.

Since the Democrats took control of the House in the midterm elections, President Trump is expected to take the reform of government sponsored-entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into his own hands. There are limitations to what the administration can do without Congress first passing legislation, but the FHFA can raise fees on lenders and just the size of loans companies can buy. That could impact states with higher property values like New York and California.

As Pence’s chief economist, Calabria said last year the administration was “committed” to ending Fannie and Freddie’s conservatorship.

“Mark Calabria possesses a unique combination of policy, regulatory and housing expertise, and his nomination to lead the FHFA is well deserved,” Dan Berger, National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions president and CEO, told Housing Wire. “In our numerous meetings with Mr. Calabria, it is clear he has a firm understanding of credit union issues and of the important role the GSEs play in their mission.” [Housing Wire] — Kathryn Brenzel