It’s time for President Obama to fire and quickly replace the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Edward DeMarco, with a Director who will uphold the Agency’s mission to “support housing finance and affordable housing, and support a stable and liquid mortgage market.” DeMarco, a holdover from the Bush administration, is interim head of the FHFA, which currently oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Opportunity Agenda and dozens of other housing and consumer groups have called for DeMarco’s ouster and replacement with an appointee who will utilize a full range of effective solutions, including adjusting mortgage principal to reflect the fair market value of homes that are underwater — meaning that they are worth less than what the homeowners owe on their mortgages. DeMarco has blocked principal correction on any of the 30 million mortgages owned or backed by Fannie and Freddie, despite incentives from the Treasury Department and undisputed evidence that it would strengthen the economy while helping homeowners get back on track.
The opportunity to own a home under fair terms is a defining element of the American Dream and an important pathway to the middle class. But abuses by lenders and inadequate consumer protections over multiple years have robbed millions of Americans of that dream, and wrecked our economy. Replacing DeMarco with a Director committed to opportunity and concrete problem solving is an important step toward restoring both.