In the past I have written favorably about FHA Commissioner David Stevens. I even got a comment on one blog from Stevens thanking me for my post. I’ve attended several talks by Stevens, a couple webinars and phone chats, etc. I like Dave – think he’s done a good job keeping the FHA out of bail-out territory, adjusting some policies – like the 90 day flip rule, etc.
Well, the end of this month what will be a big loss for the FHA will become a big gain for the Mortgage Bankers Association when David Stevens leaves the former for the latter. I don’t know if I will like him as well in the new position but hope he can bring the same clarity and focus to the MBA that he has brought to FHA and that his knowledge of a broad spectrum of the market from several perspectives will be put to good use.
Stevens joined the administration team at FHA as one of President Obama’s new hires and has usually been perceived as a straight shooter knowledgeable of the industry whereof he governs. The same could not always be said of his bosses HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan or FDIC Chair Sheila Bair. Stevens, while toeing the company line, could also be candid in appraising some of the constraints of working within the administration, explaining why things were the way they were and what the impact and repercussions to the industry would be. Donovan and Bair can always be counted on to spout the strict company line regardless of whether you call BS on them or not. I always found him a refreshing fresh voice amidst the sea of blather.
He joined the administration after serving as President and COO of real estate firm Long & Fosters but he has an even more extensive background as a mortgage lender at World Bank and Wells Fargo and a seven year stint running the small lender channel at Freddie Mac.
No word yet on who will be tapped to replace Stevens at the helm of the FHA when he leaves at the end of the month. One can only hope that an equally competent and focused individual will be named, someone who knows what business they’re in, actually understands housing, lending and how they impact the economy and can work to keep the FHA a relevant entity for first time and lower income homebuyers.