On December 10, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) to serve as Director of the FHFA. Once sworn in, Mr. Watt will replace Edward DeMarco, who has led the agency on an “acting” basis for more than four years. Mr. DeMarco has faced criticism from federal and state Democratic policymakers and housing groups, in part based on his decision to not direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to engage in broad principal reduction programs.

On December 11, the FHFA announced that Jeffrey Spohn, FHFA’s Deputy Director of the Office of Conservatorship Operations, will retire in January, and that the FHFA will combine two offices managing conservatorship-related matters into a new Division of Conservatorship. That new division will be led by Wanda DeLeo, who currently serves as Deputy Director in the Office of Strategic Initiatives.