President Picks Rep. Mel Watt to Oversee Fannie and Freddie

Mortgage & Real Estate

Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., knows what to do to help responsible homeowners fully recover from the housing crisis, according to President Obama.

At a White House event Wednesday afternoon, the president officially nominated the veteran congressman to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency and replace the current acting FHFA director Edward Marco.

The president noted the Watt has served on the House Financial Services Committee for nearly 20 years

Mel has lead efforts to rein in unscrupulous mortgage lenders, he has helped protect consumers from the kinds of reckless risk taking that lead to the financial crisis in the first place and he has fought to give more Americans in low-income neighborhoods access to affordable housing, the president said.

Mel understands as well as anybody what caused the housing crisis. He knows what it is going to take to help responsible homeowners to fully recover, he said.

House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, noted that Watt is a senior and well-respected member of the committee, but he is not the issue, the Texas congressman said.

DeMarco has emphasized protecting the interests of taxpayers, Hensarling said, by rejecting Obama administration efforts to use principal reductions to modify Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

Unsurprisingly, this has put him in conflict with the administration. Whoever sits in the FHFA directors chair needs to continue DeMarcos policies? If they simply do whatever the administration wants, they will have failed, Hensarling said.

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