January 31, 2011

On January 27, the Obama Administration announced that Joseph Smith has withdrawn from consideration to be the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency that oversees the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

Smith, the North Carolina Banking Commissioner, was nominated for the position on November 12, 2010.  On December 14, the Senate Banking Committee approved his nomination by a 16-6 vote.  Objections by some Republicans, including Banking Committee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL), prevented the nomination from coming to a vote in the full Senate.  These objections were based on concerns about whether Smith was likely to object to efforts to persuade the FHFA to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to absorb greater losses through principal write-down or other foreclosure mitigation programs.

The White House has since acknowledged that there is not a clear path for Smith to be approved by the Senate in the 112th Congress.  If he had been confirmed by the Senate, Smith would have replaced the current FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco.  DeMarco will remain the acting director.

The White House has not yet named a new nominee for the position.