ARLINGTON, Va.–Last week’s hearing in the Senate on the nomination of a new head of the Federal Housing Finance Authority means it’s likely GSE reform will be
pushed to the forefront should the nominee ultimately be appointed.
As CUToday.info reported here, Dr. Mark Anthony Calabria was grilled by Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee for his past statements on too-big-to-fail banks, the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which the FHFA oversees), and other housing issues during the Q&A with senators. Calabria was part of a panel that also included NCUA board nominees Rodney Hood and Todd Harper, as well as Bimal Patel, who has been nominated for a position with Treasury.
Calabria, who is current chief economist to Vice President Mike Pence, has published numerous statements in recent years regarding his views on reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both of which have been operating under the conservatorship of the federal government since the financial crisis. How those companies should emerge from conservatorship has been debated for a decade, and the Trump Administration recently announced it will be putting forward its own plan for doing so.
Should Calabria ultimately win approval, he will play a critical role in the process. But as NAFCU’s Hunt reminded, “What an individual nominee says during a confirmation hearing does not always match what they do once in office.”
Nevertheless, EVP/general counsel with the association, said Calabria’s statements during the hearing were largely in line with what he has said in the past. “He is an individual with strong opinions,” said Hunt, noting NAFCU representatives have met with Calabria both in his role with the vice president’s office and in a prior role with the Cato Institute. NAFCU supports Calabria’s appointment to the position.
“GSE reform is very important to credit unions, and we want to ensure credit unions have access to the secondary market,” said Hunt. “(Calabria) will likely take a more active role. There is going to be more discussion around GSE reform.”
As for the nominations of Rodney Hood and Todd Harper to the NCUA board, Hunt said NAFCU supports the return to a full three-member board. She said Hood will have to deal with an issue that wasn’t at the forefront during his prior term on the NCUA board—cybersecurity. And Harper, who previously served on the staff of NCUA, will need to make the adjustment to setting policy, added Hunt.