President Biden Replaces Mark Calabria as FHFA Director, Names Sandra Thompson Interim Director

The Supreme Court ruled on June 23 that the leadership structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is unconstitutional because the authorizing statute wrongfully limited the president’s ability to remove the agency’s director. As a result of the decision, the Biden administration moved quickly to replace the current director, Mark Calabria, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019. The president named Sandra Thompson the agency’s interim director; Ms. Thompson served previously as deputy director of FHFA’s Division of Housing Mission and Goals, overseeing agency’s housing and regulatory policy and fair lending. 

Congress established FHFA as an independent agency in 2008 to regulate and oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two federally chartered companies that provide a secondary market for residential mortgages. These government-sponsored entities (GSEs) have been in conservatorship since that time.

During his tenure as director, Director Calabria frequently listened and responded to concerns raised by NLIHC. In March 2020, for example, FHFA became the first federal agency to implement a federal eviction moratorium during the pandemic, and Director Calabria’s leadership on the issue encouraged other federal agencies and Congress to take further action.

The statute that created FHFA, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” also established the national Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund. Because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide the dedicated source of funding for the HTF, their status and viability are of particular interest to low-income housing advocates.