President Trump Nominates Mark Calabria to Be FHFA Director
President Donald Trump recently announced that he would nominate Mark Calabria, chief economist to Vice President Mike Pence, to be the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for a term of five years. Prior to his current position in the administration, Mr. Calabria was director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute. Before that, as a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee, he was one of the lead drafters of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) which created the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and the FHFA. In addition, Mr. Calabria served as deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at HUD during President George W. Bush’s administration and held positions with Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors.
The nomination announcement came shortly before FHFA published updated Duty to Serve plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as required by HERA. That law requires Fannie and Freddie to serve three undeserved markets: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing. According to the plans, both agencies plan to purchase LIHTC loans, and Freddie Mac will re-engage in the LIHTC equity market in rural housing, while Fannie Mae will review the potential use of LIHTC equity investments.
Interestingly, Calabria has been a critic of the housing government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he’s been a long-time advocate of Housing Choice Vouchers as an alternative to LIHTCs and other supply-side housing programs. As head of the FHFA, he won’t be in a position to repeal the credit, but while he’s in charge of Fannie and Freddie, he would be able to alter their equity investments in LIHTCs.