Last week, Mel Watt was sworn in as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This is a big move for the former Charlotte Congressman!
Watt served as United States Representative for North Carolina’s 12th congressional district for over 20 years. The district is made up of portions of Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Lexington, Salisbury, Concord, and High Point. As an attorney from Charlotte, Watt focused on minority business and economic development law in his practice. He also served one term as a state Senator and served as campaign manager for former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.
At the helm of the FHFA, Watt will oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored lenders that back about 60 percent of U.S. home loans. These agencies “help ensure a reliable and affordable supply of mortgage funds throughout the country.”
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Watt “is regarded by consumer advocates as a potential champion for troubled homeowners and by bond managers as a possible threat to the value of their investments.” Before even taking office, Watt indicated he wanted to reduce or eliminate fees that were to take effect in April, a move that is decidedly in the favor of those considering a home purchase. According to a report by MorgtageLoan.com, the proposed fees operate on a sliding scale, based on the borrower’s credit rating and down payment amount. This could increase the up-front cost of a mortgage by up to $3,750 on a $250,000 home loan. Obviously, these fees could have had a major impact on potential homebuyers.
Only time will tell how Mel Watt’s leadership affects the FHFA and home buyers. But for now I want to send a big congratulations to one of Charlotte’s own!