WASHINGTON – Former Federal Housing Finance Agency acting chief Edward DeMarco will leave the government-sponsored enterprise regulator next month, the FHFA announced Monday.
DeMarco ran Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator on an acting basis for nearly five years ending this past January, when Melvin Watt was sworn as the FHFA’s Senate-confirmed director. DeMarco, who had played a key role managing GSE policy during the two mortgage giants’ conservatorships, has remained at the agency as senior deputy director to help manage the transition to Watt’s leadership.
“Ed has been an invaluable asset to FHFA and I appreciate his assistance to me during this transitional period,” Watt, a former North Carolina congressman, said in a press release.
Starting in 2006, DeMarco was a top official at the FHFA’s predecessor agency, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. He then became senior deputy director at the housing finance agency when it was created under a 2008 law. He previously held positions at the Social Security Administration and the Treasury Department, among others.
“I appreciate your invitation to assist you with the recent leadership transition and I have been pleased to do so,” DeMarco, who did not reveal any future plans, said in a letter to Watt released by the agency. “I am also grateful for the thoughtfulness you have shown me during this transition period. With the transition now well along, I believe the time has come for me to seek other opportunities.”
Under DeMarco’s leadership, Fannie and Freddie returned to profitability. He also helped administer the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which has helped 3 million borrowers restructure loans. Yet he resisted Obama administration efforts to get Fannie and Freddie to use principal reductions to assist distressed homeowners, which antagonized Democrats in Congress but made DeMarco a hero among Republican lawmakers.
“We have responded to the urgent need of families facing difficulties, the fragility of the housing markets, and the enormous demands placed on taxpayers. We also built a new agency during this period,” DeMarco said in the letter. “Whatever the future holds, the country needs an agency expert in the workings of our housing finance system and I am proud that FHFA has developed the capabilities to take on that responsibility.”