U.S. Senate confirms Mel Watt as next FHFA director

Kerri Ann Panchuk, Housing Wire

It’s official: Congressman Mel Watt, D-N.C., will lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency after the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination Tuesday afternoon.

Senators confirmed Watt as Ed DeMarco’s replacement, with a majority of the chamber’s legislators voting in Watt’s favor. The congressman easily obtained 57 votes, with 41 Senators voting against the appointment.

Ed DeMarco, who has served as acting director of the FHFA ever since the GSEs entered conservatorship, has long staved off attempts to use the agency as an instrument for enacting principal write-downs to help underwater borrowers.

The market has had plenty of time to get used to a Watt appointment, but he’s still viewed as a major sea change for the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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