FHA Commissioner Stevens Steps Down

Federal Housing Administration Commissioner David Stevens announced today his decision to resign from his FHA position in mid-April.

With private sector mortgage industry background including 30 years in the industry, the commissioner has led the FHA since July 2009 through the continuation of the housing downturn.

“During my tenure, the Office of Housing (HUD) and my management team have been focused on the three goals I laid out at the start of my appointment—creating an Office of Risk Management, addressing the health of the MMI Fund, and implementing new policies and programs to better protect FHA and its mission to serve underserved communities,” Stevens wrote in a statement. “It is very rewarding to know that we have achieved these goals while playing an important role in helping stabilize the housing market.”

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Under his leadership, the agency aimed to raise its reserves in part by increasing the mortgage-insurance fees that borrowers must pay, and by raising the annual insurance premium for reverse mortgage borrowers from .5% to 1.25%. At the same time, FHA resisted efforts to raise minimum down payments beyond 3.5%.

“Dave has been singularly focused on restoring FHA to fiscal health to protect taxpayers and ensure it can fulfill its mission of making homeownership available to qualified moderate-income, underserved and first-time home buyers,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said. “His leadership at a historic time for FHA has not only contributed to a renewed sense of confidence in the FHA, but also a restored trust in government and what it can do. Dave has been a critical part of our team and while he will be missed, I am confident we will build on the progress we’ve made during his tenure.”

Stevens said the challenges addressed since he took the position as commissioner were “the most intense and significant in his career.”

HUD has not released information regarding a replacement for Stevens, but indicates he will leave his post in the next few weeks.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

 

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  • Why is the Commissioner leaving? What a short time to have served! No one has provided the reason for leaving just some vague statements on accomplishments. This move makes little sense. Are the demands of his post that severe?

    When the reason for leaving is glossed over like this, speculation on the cause is like gasoline sitting on the ground waiting for ignition.

  • Here are some relevant (if speculative) questions:

    Could David Stevens’s sudden and hasty exit be related to the lawsuit AARP filed against HUD on Tuesday, March 8th?

    Why the hasty exit before a replacement is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate (the normal process for such high-level appointees)?

    For a tenure that was presumably focused on managing FHA exposure, why was the massive exposure posed by Mortgagee Letter 2008-38 ignored and allowed to fester into a preventable legal brawl with AARP?

    What role did bureaucratic ineptitude and arrogance at HUD play in formulating and issuing the odious mortgagee letter?

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