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Trump Taps Montgomery for Second Stint as FHA Commissioner

President Trump this week announced his intention to nominate Brian Montgomery for a second tour of duty as Federal Housing Administration commissioner, the White House said in a statement.

Montgomery, who had previously served as FHA commissioner in the George W. Bush administration, currently works as the vice president of the Collingwood Group, a Washington, D.C.-based advisory firm. He additionally served the younger Bush as a deputy assistant to the president, and directed the Office of Cabinet Affairs.

Montgomery has also been something of a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage advocate both in and out of public service. During his first tenure, the FHA rolled out the HECM for Purchase program, which Montgomery touted in testimony before Congress in February 2007.

“Our HECM program shouldn’t just allow seniors to take cash out of their current homes, but should permit them to move to housing that better meets their needs as they age,” he said.

A few years later, while at the Collingwood Group, Montgomery wrote a post about the importance of the reverse mortgage to certain seniors’ overall financial wellbeing.

“There is no escaping the fact that the reverse mortgage product helps address a growing concern: How can we better ensure that the nation’s growing population of seniors will be able to age in a comfortable and secure environment? What better place to do that than your own home?” Montgomery wrote. “For many families, a reverse mortgage is a win-win.”

“The reverse mortgage product has at its very core an essential social purpose,” Montgomery continued.

He also quipped in a 2015 interview that he’d let his own mother take out a reverse mortgage if it made sense for her.

“I told her that I was her son and would always be looking out for her best interests,” Montgomery told The Mortgage Reports’ Tom Kelly. “I also told her that I administered the program for the United States of America and thought it was a pretty good idea.”

Last fall, Montgomery also recommended the transfer of the HECM program from the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund into the General Insurance/Special Risk Insurance Fund — an issue that could become more important now that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has made key program changes in the name of shoring up the HECM portion of the MMI.

Trump’s announcement comes amid multiple media reports of disorganization and restlessness at HUD, which remains without a several key leadership positions below secretary Ben Carson. Pam Patenaude, who was nominated for the deputy post back in April, still awaits confirmation from the full Senate.

The industry response has so far been positive, with National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association president and CEO Peter Bell congratulating Montgomery in a statement.

“Brian has proved himself to be a thoughtful and committed public servant who rolls up his sleeves to get results. As FHA commissioner during the Bush administration, Brian showed extraordinary competence in his management and oversight of the HECM reverse mortgage program,” Bell said. “NRMLA and the industry look forward to working with him upon his return to FHA.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association also applauded Montgomery’s nomination.

“His previous experience will serve him well in this position,” president David Stevens said in the statement. “I hope the Senate will move quickly to confirm Brian and we look forward to working with him, Secretary Carson, and others in the administration to ensure a strong, robust FHA program that can serve its mission of providing affordable housing opportunities.”

Written by Alex Spanko