President Joe Biden will nominate Sandra Thompson, currently the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to a full term at the regulator, the White House announced Tuesday.
If confirmed, Thompson would be the country’s top housing regulator, with oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled companies that stand behind about half of the roughly $11 trillion residential mortgage market.
The move comes after Thompson allies on the Hill, including House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), urged Biden to keep her at the helm amid reports he planned to replace Thompson this fall. The White House had considered nominating consumer-lending advocate Mike Calhoun to the position.
Biden appointed Thompson in an interim capacity in June, when he fired Trump appointee Mark Calabria after the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to restrict the president’s ability to remove the FHFA director.
Thompson will be nominated to a five-year term. As FHFA director, she would be charged with implementing the Biden administration’s plans to expand mortgage availability and reduce the racial homeownership gap using Fannie and Freddie, which buy mortgages from lenders and bundle them into securities for investors.
The Trump administration had worked to shrink Fannie and Freddie’s footprint and build their capital reserves so they could be released as private entities. But Democrats who want the companies to play a larger role in ensuring wider access to the mortgage market objected.