Obama Appoints Former CSBS Head Smith to Lead FHFA
President Barack Obama will nominate Joseph A. Smith Jr., North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, as the new Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). If approved, Smith will replace current Acting Director Edward DeMarco. Smith served as Chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) in 2009 and founding member of the Board of Managers of State Regulatory Registry LLC. As chairman of the CSBS, he delivered testimony in September of 2009 before the House Financial Services Committee at a hearing titled, "Regulator Perspectives on Financial Regulatory Reform Proposals." In his testimony, Smith found inconsistencies with the Administration's goal of financial reform, more importantly, that large financial institutions would receive "perceived federal preferences" from the government, thus driving small businesses and non-systemic institutions "to the margins or even out of business." As former Chairman of the CSBS, Smith had significant input in the formation of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), a combined effort of the CSBS along with the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR). NMLS streamlines the licensing process for both regulatory agencies and the mortgage industry by providing a centralized and standardized system for mortgage licensing. "Mr. Smith brings to this position both tremendous expertise and a deep commitment to strengthening our housing finance system for the American people," said President Obama. "I’m grateful that he has accepted this nomination, and I look forward to working with him in the months and years to come.” Smith background in law includes a stint with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Thacher Proffitt & Wood, specializing in regulatory practice for the financial services industry. From September 1991-April 2000, Smith served as general counsel and secretary for Centura Banks Inc. and Centura Bank in Rocky Mount, N.C. Prior to that he was a partner with Poyner & Spruill in Raleigh, N.C. He previously served as assistant general counsel for Emery Air Freight Corporation in Wilton, Conn., and as corporate counsel for PepsiCo Inc. in Purchase, N.Y., and from 1975-1979, was associate counsel with Brown, Wood, Ivey, Mitchell & Petty in New York, N.Y., where he served as the firm's securities and public finance practice. Smith received his bachelor's degree from Davidson College in 1971 and his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1975. He is licensed to practice law in New York (1975) and North Carolina (1989). For more information, visit www.fhfa.gov.