Trump today named Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Comptroller Joseph Otting as acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Like finding a lump of coal in your stocking, this latest “gift” from the Trump administration punishes working families who aspire to achieve the American Dream through home ownership.
The FHFA was established in the wake of the 2008 housing crisis to ensure that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System serve as a reliable source of liquidity and funding for housing finance and community investment. The agency also has statutory goals to promote greater access to affordable housing through greater mortgage credit access for creditworthy low- and moderate-income borrowers.
As the head of the OCC, Mr. Otting has pursued an overt agenda to silence community voices by dismantling the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a civil rights era law that was created to address redlining. As CEO of OneWest Bank, he led a bank that is being investigated by HUD for engaging in redlining, demonstrated an abysmal record of investing in low-income communities, and oversaw tens of thousands of foreclosures on seniors and working families, including over 35,000 in California alone.
CRC and other community groups expressed concerns that FHFA, under prior leadership, was already not meeting its affordable housing mandate. FHFA requires and deserves focused leadership that is responsive to the needs of communities, not a part-time leader and former banker with track record of enriching himself at the expense of seniors, low-income people of color, and working families.