For those in the real estate finance and home building industry, the coming of Mel Watt as the newly inducted Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency could not have come at a more propitious time.
On the housing front, the good news is that the president wants Mel Watt to head the FHFA. The really bad news is that the problems in the U.S. housing system are currently so entrenched that, even if he is confirmed, Mel Watt will be hard-pressed to resolve them.
With an estimated $2.5 billion bankroll by the time this presidential election is said and done, you'd think pretty much every important issue would get its place in the sun. Well, as it turns out, you don't always get what you pay for.
Acting Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Ed DeMarco has not been shy about letting underwater homeowners sink. This week, he made it painfully clear that despite the Administration calling for principal reduction, he would have no part of it.
President Obama can make the moral case for America's homeowners in a clear, strong voice. So far he hasn't done that -- partly because some key members of his team buy into the unfair notion that underwater homeowners, unlike Wall Street bankers, don't deserve to be helped.