As Congress and President Barack Obama wrangle at the edge of the fiscal cliff, lawmakers took advantage of a rare weekend holiday session to confirm Obama’s choice to lead the ailing Federal Housing Administration.
Carol J. Galante was named acting FHA commissioner by Obama in July 2011. Three months later, the White House said that the president intended to nominate her to be HUD assistant secretary and federal housing commissioner.
In her bid for Senate confirmation, Galante wrote a letter to Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) committing to making substantial reforms to the government mortgage program including strengthening guidelines, eliminating fixed-rate home-equity conversion mortgages and more closely scrutinizing borrowers with prior foreclosures.
Galante was addressing concerns about the negative $16.3 billion capital reserve at FHA.
The nominee apparently allayed senators’ concerns.
Galante was confirmed as assistant secretary for housing and FHA commissioner by a bipartisan majority of the Senate.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan issued a statement indicating that Galante offers responsible leadership at a time when needed reforms are being pursued to stabilize FHA’s financial outlook.
Donovan highlighted how Galante led FHA as HUD launched and integrated the Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs into the Office of Housing.
“Carol directed FHA insurance programs, through which HUD provided critical liquidity in the market while balancing two core missions — preserving affordable mortgage financing options for underserved borrowers and protecting our still-fragile housing recovery,” Donovan stated.
Galante takes over a government agency that has insured more than a million mortgages for over $200 billion during the 10 months ended Oct. 31. Serious delinquency on the nearly $1.1 trillion FHA book of business finished October at 9.5 percent, worse than 9.0 percent a year earlier.