Craig Phillips, Treasury point person on GSE reform, reportedly stepping down

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Craig Phillips, Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s top housing advisor and the person tasked with leading the Treasury’s efforts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is reportedly leaving the administration as soon as next month.

The news of Phillips’ pending departure was first reported by the New York Times, which reported Thursday that Phillips told Treasury department employees that he plans to leave the government next month.

According to the New York Times report, Phillips said he is planning to return to the private sector on Wall Street, but does not have a job lined up yet.

Phillips joined the administration in 2017, signing on as Mnuchin’s top housing advisor after leaving BlackRock. At Blackrock, Phillips served as head of financial markets advisory and client solutions.

According to Phillips’ BlackRock bio, he joined the company in 2008. Previously, Phillips served as a managing director of Morgan Stanley from 1994 to 2006. While at Morgan Stanley, he worked in the company’s Fixed Income division, and was responsible for oversight of its global Securitized Products Group.

The New York Times describes Phillips as a “veteran Wall Street mortgage trader,” and it was believed that his mortgage-related experience would help the administration pursue GSE reform.

While at the Treasury, Phillips represented the administration on housing matters, speaking on multiple occasions about the administration’s plans for housing finance reform.

Last year, for example, Phillips told the crowd at the Mortgage Bankers Association 2018 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., that the Trump administration is working to end the conservatorship of Fannie and Freddie.

“The administration advocates ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and returning them to private ownership,” Phillips said last year. “Their charters should be removed from statute and their operations should be overseen by the primary regulator that has the authority to approve additional guarantors to introduce competition into the secondary mortgage market.”

Phillips added that the administration is hoping to see “more level playing field” between the private sector and government-backed enterprises like Fannie and Freddie.

But now, despite the presence of a Trump administration appointee now leading the Federal Housing Finance Agency (one who’s talked openly about plans for GSE reform), Phillips is said to be leaving.

“Craig Phillips has served the Treasury Department since the beginning of this administration and has been incredibly effective in his role as counselor to Secretary Mnuchin,” Treasury Department spokesperson Devin O’Malley told the New York Times. “In addition to managing the extensive domestic finance portfolio, Craig led the department’s efforts that produced significant financial regulatory reform.”

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