U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated a new Federal Housing Commissioner to serve at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Should her nomination be confirmed by the Senate, Julia Gordon will be tasked with leading the Federal Housing Administration, supervising programs relating to the private mortgage insurance market and overseeing the $400 billion Federal Housing Administration portfolio.
The move follows some major federal policy moves in the housing sector this week. On Wednesday, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria was ousted from his role, before Biden appointed Sandra Thompson as his temporary replacement the day after. Later that day, it was announced that David Ueijo, the acting director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, had been nominated to serve as assistant secretary of the HUD.
HousingWire reported that Gordon is a highly respected veteran of the housing industry that will be tasked with implementing Biden’s policies. Billed as an expert in federal policy relating to homeownership, community development and housing finance, she currently serves as President of the National Community Stabilization Trust that works to rehabilitate residential homes in underserved markets.
Before that, Gordon led the single-family policy team at the FHFA from 2011 to 2012. She also served as a member of the FHFA and HUD agency review team that was put in place shortly after Biden took over the presidency.
The HUD is responsible for national policy and programs that address America's housing needs, that improve and develop the Nation's communities, and enforce fair housing laws.
Gordon’s nomination to the role of federal housing commissioner at the HUD was applauded by industry notables including David Dworkin, who serves as president of the National Housing Conference. He told HousingWire that Biden’s housing policy will define how the homeowners assistance fund is distributed, and what options borrowers with FHA mortgages will have to avoid being evicted from their homes. The HUD will also have to deal with any evictions itself.
“There is no person in the U.S. who is more qualified for that job at this time than Julia Gordon,” Dworkin said. “She understands better than almost anyone how important it is to maintain stability of the neighborhood as well as the stability of the homeowner.”
However, Dworkin warned that Gordon will face some daunting challenges in her new role. One of her toughest tasks will be to convince the private sector to come to the FHA for just a fraction of what they are currently making, he said.
“The challenge will be to convince them that they can make an impact, that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he explained.
Bob Broeksmit, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told HousingWire that Gordon’s previous experience at both the FHFA and the NCST would give her a “unique perspective” on how to deal with various housing market issues. He said that he was looking forward to working with her to help deliver a strong FHA program that provides affordable housing opportunities for all Americans.
He further underscored the need to continue modernizing the FHA, saying that efforts there lag behind other agencies. “We also look forward to working with the agency to finish the much-needed work to improve efficiency, instill certainty and bring more lenders back to the FHA program,” Broeksmit said.
Analysts say that as FHA commissioner, Gordon is also expected to try and make FHA loans more competitive versus other offerings on the market. A common complaint of those with FHFA financing, along with Department of Veterans Affairs borrowers, is that lenders and sellers are less interested in working with them than other borrowers.
If Gordon’s nomination is approved by the Senate, she will replace acting FHA commissioner Janet Goldrick, who has held the role on a temporary basis since January. Prior to her, the role was held by Dana Wade, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2020 and stepped down when Biden assumed the Presidency.