White House looking for new FHFA director

December 10, 2012 03:00PM

From left: FHFA head Edward DeMarco, the White House

The White House is preparing to nominate a new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as early as next year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The FHFA’s current director, Edward DeMarco, was appointed more than three years ago in an interim capacity after the Obama Administration’s first nominee, Joseph Smith Jr., withdrew from consideration following opposition from Senate Republicans, the Journal said. The FHFA was created four-and-a-half years ago and has never had its own director confirmed by the Senate. The director of the FHFA is a key policymaker because of the agency’s role as the gatekeeper of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

During his tenure, DeMarco has been criticized for his shortcomings regarding federal housing policy and has occasionally thwarted White House initiatives, the Journal said. DeMarco has argued that a mandate to conserve Fannie’s and Freddie’s assets leaves little room for policy proposals, the Journal said.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Fannie and Freddie suspended evictions and foreclosures in the areas hit hard by the hurricane, as previously reported. [WSJ]Hayley Kaplan