Biden nominates Thompson as permanent head of FHFA

President Joe Biden will nominate Sandra L. Thompson to serve as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Thompson is no stranger to the position, having served as acting head of the agency since June after Biden pushed aside former director and Trump appointee Mark Calabria. Additionally, Thompson has served as deputy director of the FHFA’s division of housing mission and goals since 2013.

In that role, Thompson oversaw 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.

Thompson’s four decades of government experience go beyond her time at the FHFA. Prior to joining the agency, Thompson worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), for more than 23 years in a variety of leadership positions. Her most recent post there was as director of the division of risk management supervision, leading the FDIC’s examination and enforcement program for risk management and consumer protection during the financial crisis of the 2000s.

Many from Capitol Hill and around the housing industry have applauded Thompson’s work thus far in heading the FHFA and had called on Biden to install Thompson as a permanent head. It was widely speculated earlier this fall that Biden would pass over Thompson in favor of Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, for the top FHFA post. But several leading Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, have endorsed Thompson as a nominee and the White House evidently took notice.

“I commend the Biden administration for nominating Sandra Thompson to lead FHFA,” Brown said. “She has a distinguished career as a regulator and supervisor, first for our nation’s banks and more recently for the GSEs.

“While leading the Federal Housing Finance Agency as acting director, Ms. Thompson has refocused regulation of the GSEs on ensuring that they fulfill their mission to provide safe, sustainable access to housing across the country. I look forward to holding her nomination hearing soon and encourage my colleagues to support her nomination.”

Bob Broeksmit, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), likewise lauded the move and called for a quick confirmation process.

“MBA applauds the White House’s intention to nominate Sandra Thompson to be the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” Broeksmit said. “Thompson’s in-depth expertise as a regulator and her experience in real estate finance makes her the perfect choice to lead FHFA.

“Since assuming the position of acting director in June, Thompson has addressed several topline issues, including reversing the adverse market refinance fee, calling for the continuation of pandemic-related flexibilities, enhancing the GSEs’ new refinance programs for low-income borrowers, and overseeing the GSEs’ mission of creating equitable and sustainable solutions for affordable housing and rental opportunities.”

Scott Olson, executive director of the Community Home Lenders Association, said that the organization “strongly and unequivocally supports” Thompson’s nomination.

“In her short tenure as acting FHFA director, Ms. Thompson has more than proved her capability to be the right person for the job — moving decisively to suspend the counterproductive PSPA restrictions and taking a number of actions to promote the GSEs’ access to credit for underserved and minority borrowers.”

If confirmed, Thompson would serve a five-year term, barring an at-will removal by the president.


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