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Sandra L. Thompson was formally nominated by President Biden to serve as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in December, but she has served as interim director since June 2021. Wednesday, the U.S. Senate formally removed the “interim” label, voting 49 to 46 along party lines to confirm Thompson as FHFA director.
At the time of her nomination, the Biden administration said she had more than four decades of government experience in financial regulation, risk management, and consumer protection.
She had served as deputy director of the FHFA’s Division of Housing Mission and Goals (DHMG) since 2013. As DHMG deputy director, Thompson oversaw FHFA’s housing and regulatory policy, capital policy, financial analysis, fair lending, and all mission activities for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
Before joining FHFA, Thompson worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for more than 23 years in a variety of leadership positions, most recently as director of the Division of Risk Management Supervision. At FDIC, she led the agency’s examination and enforcement program for risk management and consumer protection at the height of the financial crisis. She also led the FDIC’s outreach initiatives in response to a crisis of consumer confidence in the banking system.
A Chicago native, Thompson is a graduate of Howard University.
Thompson was appointed interim director in June 2021 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 23 that the FHFA's leadership structure was unconstitutional because the authorizing statute wrongfully limited the president’s ability to remove the agency’s director. Following that decision, the Biden administration replaced Director Mark Calabria, who was appointed by President Trump in 2019, with Thompson.
Jerry Konter, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder and developer from Savannah, Ga., issued a statement congratulating Thompson on her confirmation.
“We look forward to working with her to help address the nation’s housing affordability crisis by ensuring the appropriate federal support to provide affordable housing credit for home buyers and for multifamily housing in all economic and financial conditions,” Konter said.
Bob Broeksmit, president & CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, also applauded Thompson’s confirmation.
“Since being appointed acting director in June 2021, she has repeatedly demonstrated leadership, expertise, and a strong commitment to sound risk management principles while safely expanding access to mortgage credit and creating equitable and sustainable housing solutions for homeowners and renters,” Broeksmit said.
He added, “We look forward to continuing our important work with Director Thompson, FHFA, the GSEs, and other stakeholders to provide affordable housing opportunities for all Americans, while protecting taxpayers and ensuring a robust secondary mortgage market for single-family and multifamily lenders of all sizes and business models.”
Lindsey Johnson, president of the U.S. Mortgage Insurers, also issued a statement on Thompson's confirmation.
"Thompson ... understands the importance of ensuring the safety and soundness of the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the housing finance system," Johnson said. "We are confident that she will continue to help instill strength into the housing finance system as families face barriers to homeownership due to severely limited supply and record home price appreciation. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Director Thompson in seeking ways to establish a more collaborative, transparent, and consistent housing policy that ensures homebuyers have affordable and prudent options for low down payment mortgage finance credit while also protecting taxpayers and the U.S. government from undue risk.”