Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting will become the next federal financial regulator to take on more than one role, as the White House Thursday announced he would replace the acting director of the agency that supervises the federal “government-sponsored enterprises” that provide financing for the nation’s housing industry, while also remaining comptroller.
President Donald Trump late Thursday, in a statement, announced the appointment of Otting to be acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) next month. He will replace Melvin Watt (a former Democratic congressman), whose term ends early next month (Jan. 6, according to the brief White House statement).
Until two weeks ago, John (“Mick”) Mulvaney was also serving double duty as both acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He left the CFPB job after a permanent director (Kathy Kraninger) was approved by the Senate. Sometime next month, Mulvaney will take over in another “acting” role, this time as chief of staff to Trump.
As acting director of the FHFA, Otting would direct policy for the agency that supervises Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank System (which includes the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks)) and the Office of Finance. Since 2008, FHFA has also served as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Otting became comptroller in November 2017; he is a former banker, including as president and CEO of OneWest Bank. In 2011, he signed a consent decree with the former Office of Thrift Supervision regarding the bank’s violations during the 2010 foreclosure crisis.
In a statement issued Friday, Otting pointed to, among other things, his work at the OCC in “promoting the federal banking system’s ability to encourage economic growth and create jobs,” and efforts to modernize the anti-redlining Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which is closely aligned with housing.
“Successfully leading both the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the FHFA would not be possible without the quality staff and leadership at both agencies,” Otting said. “I look forward to continuing the vital work of the OCC to ensure the federal banking system operates in a safe, sound, and fair manner just as I look forward to leading the FHFA in its important roles overseeing the Federal Home Loan Bank System and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”