Another Trump-era official out at FHFA

Another Trump-era official out at FHFA
The Federal Housing Finance Agency today announced the hiring of a new legal advisor to FHFA Acting Director Sandra Thompson as well as the replacement of a Trump-era hire with a veteran agency official.

The regulator said Monday that Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director for the Division of Research and Statistics, will step down to “pursue new opportunities.” Fisher was one of the first hires then-FHFA Director Mark Calabria made after he was confirmed in 2019.

Prior to her time at the FHFA, Lynn was a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C. think-tank that advocates for free enterprise and a limited government. She had also served as vice president of research and economics at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

A longtime FHFA official, Daniel Coates, most recently a senior advisor to Thompson, will replace Fisher. Coates has been at the FHFA since its inception. Prior to that, Coates was a senior advisor to the director of the office of supervision at the now defunct Federal Housing Finance Board, the predecessor to the FHFA.

Less than a week after she was named acting director, Thompson elevated Coates to the senior leadership team. Before he became senior advisor to Thompson, Coates led a team of economists and financial analysts that carried out targeted credit and market risk examinations for FHFA’s oversight of the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks. In April, he testified to Congress regarding his role overseeing the nearly 90 FHFA staffers working on the LIBOR transition.

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The FHFA also announced Charles Yi will join the regulator as its senior advisor for legal affairs and policy. Yi was most recently a partner at white shoe law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, famed for being the only large law firm to defend government employees targeted by Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s loyalty proceedings. Prior to his time at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Yi was general counsel at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Yi will provide expertise, guidance and coordination to ensure the Agency meets its goals and obligations, per a prepared statement from the FHFA.

“Charles is an accomplished and knowledgeable legal professional, and I look forward to working with him to advance FHFA’s important mission,” FHFA Acting Director Sandra Thompson said. “His expertise with legal issues related to finance and housing will support the agency’s capacity to ensure the agency’s regulated entities serve as the backbone of a fair, equitable, and sustainable housing finance system.”

The agency will also make permanent its acting chief operating officer. Katrina Jones, who has been acting chief operating officer at FHFA since August, spent the previous nine years as the agency’s associate director for agency operations. Jones is also chair of building development for the Delta Housing Corporation of the District of Columbia, a nonprofit that provides affordable housing for seniors and persons with disabilities

“Katrina has ably demonstrated the leadership and business acumen to successfully oversee the agency’s support operations,” Thompson said.

All three positions report directly to FHFA Acting Director Thompson, whom President Biden appointed in June after a Supreme Court ruling allowed him to do so. Since then, Thompson has taken aggressive steps to ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fulfill their obligation to support affordable mortgage financing.
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