Former FHA Commissioner Moves to Private Sector After Leaving Office

Real estate financial services provider Walker & Dunlop, Inc. has appointed former Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Dana Wade as Chief Production Officer for all FHA-backed loan originations with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and will also be responsible for helping drive the company’s affordable housing financing activities.

As FHA Commissioner, Wade worked to finance over 11,000 rental properties and 3,000 mortgages for residential care facilities and hospitals during the 2020 fiscal year. She was responsible for carrying out FHA’s mission in providing affordable housing for moderate and low-income households, and implemented enhanced risk management for FHA’s $1.4 trillion portfolio. Over 2,400 FHA employees ultimately answered to Wade when she served as FHA Commissioner.

Dana Wade official HUD portrait. HUD | CC0
Former FHA Commissioner Dana Wade

“Walker & Dunlop is a leader in the commercial real estate finance industry, particularly as it relates to multifamily and affordable housing,” Wade said in an announcement of her hiring. “I’m excited for this opportunity to join such a growth-oriented firm with an incredible culture and focus on people, brand, and technology.”

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Wade was first nominated as the FHA Commissioner to succeed former Commissioner and future Deputy HUD Secretary Brian Montgomery in February of 2020, and was ultimately confirmed by the U.S. Senate the following July. She served as the final FHA Commissioner of the Trump administration, overseeing the day-to-day at the agency as well as its Annual Report to Congress that November.

While the performance of the HECM portfolio notably increased in the time between the 2019 and 2020 Annual Reports, Commissioner Wade still saw any negativity in the capital reserve as problematic.

“I’m sure you saw in the report that the standalone capital position of our reverse mortgage portfolio has improved,” Wade told RMD on a November call with reporters. “It was -9.22% last year, and now it’s -0.78%, but it’s still negative. And I think the important thing to note with HECM is that this modeling is despite what is a very positive trend that we’ve seen, and have projected for house price appreciation. So, that’s certainly of concern to us.”

Commissioner Wade was also critical of the rise in lending limits across both the forward and reverse mortgage programs, questioning whether or not the agency’s mission is being served by lending limits of over $800,000.

In a recent exclusive interview with RMD, Former Deputy HUD Secretary Montgomery lauded Wade’s leadership as FHA Commissioner in formulating the agency’s response to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“I really need to commend, obviously, the single family office. Joe Gormley deserves recognition for his effort and later, Dana Wade for her leadership, and the career staff,” Montgomery told RMD in February. “I can just tell you, they put in many, many long hours dealing with FHA and the rest of HUD, as well. We had a lot of priorities, whether it was the group that FHA serves, forward or reverse mortgages, or folks living in public housing.”

Wade’s full-time successor has not yet been selected by the administration of President Joe Biden. As of now, the role of FHA Commissioner is being served in a temporary capacity by Acting Commissioner Janet Golrick.

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