Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the 18th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), serving under President Joe Biden. Senators approved Fudge’s nomination with a bipartisan majority of 66-34 on Wednesday, and she will be the first female HUD Secretary since 1979 when Patricia R. Harris served during the administration of President Jimmy Carter. She is also the second Black woman and third woman ever to lead HUD.
Fudge assumes control of HUD during a tumultuous period for many American homeowners, as the ravages of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic have caused a new wave of housing instability for millions of working families that both rent and own their homes.
She also comes aboard at a pivotal moment for the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, which has lingering issues to contend with including the selection of a new HECM servicing contractor for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), as well as the impending transition to a new rate index after the retirement of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) for adjustable-rate reverse mortgages.
The reverse mortgage industry stands ready to work with Secretary Fudge on a whole host of issues according to Steve Irwin, president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) in a statement to RMD.
“NRMLA congratulates Ms. Marcia Fudge on her confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Irwin said. “Secretary Fudge’s longstanding commitment to equality and opportunity, combined with her 12 years of experience as a Member of Congress, makes her extremely well-positioned to lead HUD.”
A part of what will guide her new position are the issues relevant to the HECM program, which NRMLA is committed to continue to work with HUD to address, Irwin explained.
“We look forward to working with Secretary Fudge, and her future management team at the Federal Housing Administration, on a range of proposals to improve the financial stability of the HECM program, including some lingering loan servicing issues, and opportunities to make the transition from LIBOR to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) as seamless as possible for HECM borrowers,” he said.
Fudge was first nominated to the position of HUD Secretary by then-President-elect Biden in December of 2020, and had her confirmation hearing with the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs at the end of January. Her nomination was then furthered to the full Senate by the Committee with bipartisan support, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced a motion to end debate on the issue earlier this week paving the way for her confirmation on Wednesday.
Other housing advocacy organizations and trade associations including the National Housing Conference, U.S. Mortgage Insurers and the Housing Policy Council sent messages of support and congratulations to Secretary Fudge upon the news of her confirmation.