WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Brian Montgomery as Federal Housing Administration commissioner in a 74-23 vote.

Montgomery, who most recently served as vice chairman of the business advisory firm Collingwood Group, was previously FHA commissioner from 2005 to 2009.

However, Montgomery’s nomination was opposed by several Democrats, including Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, over concerns that he is too close to the mortgage industry. Despite his having already run the agency in the George W. Bush administration, Montgomery's nomination had languished since the fall.

Brian Montgomery
Brian Montgomery was previously FHA commissioner from 2005 to 2009. Bloomberg News

His confirmation was lauded by industry groups, including the American Bankers Association and the Community Home Lenders Association.

“Montgomery’s previous experience as FHA commissioner in the Bush administration makes him exceptionally qualified for this role, and we’re pleased that he has chosen to return to public service and bring his knowledge and expertise back to HUD,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols.

CHLA Executive Director Scott Olson urged Montgomery to preserve access to mortgage credit for low- and moderate-income, first-time, and underserved borrowers.

“Consistent with the continued strong performance of the FHA single-family loan program, CHLA urges actions to lower premiums and end the life of loan policy, and to complete unfinished business in areas like revising condo rules," Olson said.

The Senate also moved to invoke cloture on Jelena McWilliams’ nomination to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in a 72-25 vote.

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Neil Haggerty

Neil Haggerty is the Congress reporter for American Banker. He previously was a financial regulation reporter at MLex Market Insight.