David H. Stevens, has decided to step down from his role with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Hosuing Administration (FHA) Commissioner in mid-April. "This was a difficult decision and not made lightly," said Stevens in a stetment to the media. A former mortgage banker, the 54-year-old Stevens is expected to return to the private sector, and is one of just a few Obama Administration appointees with a background in the private sector.
"David Stevens' resignation from HUD comes as a surprise. Dave has worked tirelessly to prevent a taxpayer bailout of FHA, while still providing low downpayments to lower income borrowers, sometimes with less than perfect credit," said John Councilman of Fallston, Md.-based AMC Mortgage Corporation and FHA Committee Chair with the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB). "That is a stellar achievement unmatched by anyone in the industry. It is a bit frightening to see Dave leave until the housing market stabilizes. Anyone who steps into his shoes has big shoes to fill."
A graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, Stevens has a strong background in housing, including experience in finance, construction, sales, mortgage acquisition and investment, and regulatory oversight. He began his journey to HUD at the dining room table, where he listened to stories about the creation of FHA and other efforts to stabilize the housing market from his father, who started as a runner on Wall Street during the depression. The dining room table soon became the board room as Stevens started his professional career with a 16-year tenure at the World Savings Bank. He later held positions as senior vice president of single-family business at Freddie Mac, and then executive vice president, national wholesale manager at Wells Fargo.
"Assuming this position and the challenges addressed since I took office have been the most intense and significant in my career," said Stevens. "It has been my honor to serve President Obama, Secretary Donovan, and the entire Administration. I am extremely proud of everything we accomplished to put the FHA back on stable footing."
"David provided great leadership during the dark days of the mortgage industry and he identified the urgent needs of FHA that needed to be addressed right away, such as technology, proper staffing, budget among many other things," said Tommy A. Duncan, CMT, executive vice president of Quality Mortgage Services. "David helped modernized FHA for today’s mortgage industry and streamlined the FHA by getting out of the correspondent approval business and pushed that responsibility down to the sponsors resulting in saving FHA millions of dollars. I personally wish him the best, and I am excited to see where he lands."
Prior to his nomination and confirmation as FHA Commissioner, Stevens was president and chief operating officer of Long and Foster Companies, which include Long and Foster Real Estate and its affiliated businesses, including mortgage, title insurance and home service connections.
"My decision to leave this very public role is based on several personal considerations," said Stevens. "While I believe it is time for 'fresh legs,' I stand ready to assist Secretary [Shaun] Donovan during the transition to ensure FHA continues to serve its mission in a safe and sound manner."
Stevens reached out to National Mortgage Professional Magazine in early 2010 in response to an article written, "A Walking Contradiction? FHA's Stevens Foreshadows RESPA Reform Confusion for Consumers," to clarify his position on Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) reform prior to his position with HUD. He contacted the publication directly, resulting in the story, "FHA Commissioner Stevens Clears the Air," where Stevens detailed changes to the RESPA rule and stressed the role of the mortgage broker in the stabilization of the housing market.
"David was a welcome leader at FHA because he understood the mortgage industry and the potential FHA role," said Lisa Schreiber, executive vice president of wholesale lending at TMS Funding. "His changes relating to lenders being responsible for broker originations, as well as increased lender requirements were smart as they recognized highest and best use of the current relationships. He will be missed as the FHA needs a leader that will continue to address risk while modernizing the process."
"Brokers will always remember Dave as the man who rid them of being required to have audited financial statements to participate in the FHA program," said Councilman. "He won't be soon forgotten."