NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN BRINGS OVER 40 YEARS OF FINANCIAL SERVICES AND HOUSING EXPERIENCE TO THE POSITION
On May 1, 2013, President Obama nominated Congressman Melvin “Mel” Watt (NC) to serve as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The FHFA is a hugely important federal regulatory entity which oversees nearly 80% of mortgages in the U.S. today. Specifically, the FHFA supervises America’s secondary mortgage markets, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and 14 housing-related GSEs. Mel Watts’ confirmation is essential to finally getting housing mortgages out of crisis, to getting real help to homeowners facing foreclosure, and to assisting qualified buyers to get into sustainable mortgages they can afford.
Congressman Watt is no stranger to housing, financial services, or to the issues facing racial and ethnic minorities and other Americans. Congressman Watt, who has served admirably on the House Financial Services Committee since 1993, and who chaired the Congressional Black Caucus in 2005 – 2006, has been a fierce advocate for struggling homeowners, has the depth to grasp the problems that plague Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while working to stop predatory lenders, and has the skills to work with everyone involved to get the housing sector back on track. Congressman Watt was one of the first Members of Congress to speak out against the predatory mortgage lending practices that characterized the boom in subprime lending, one that eventually contributed to widespread economic devastation. He has also consistently pointed out the disparate impact which the targeted predatory lending has had on racial and ethnic minorities and on our communities. He led the push for legislation that would have required safety, soundness, and fairness to prevail over the reckless rush for short-term profits and greed.
Congressman Watt has a long history of standing up for working families, promoting safe and affordable housing, speaking out against predatory lending, and advocating for keeping homeowners in their homes. All of these are vital to ending the continuing housing crisis, to ensuring the recovery of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to offering real help to homeowners facing foreclosure, and to helping qualified homeowners take out sustainable, affordable mortgages.