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Industry Reaction: Senate Confirms Julia Gordon as FHA Commissioner

Julia Gordon, confirmed as HUD Assistant Secretary/FHA Commissioner

Julia Gordon has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Gordon was confirmed Wednesday evening by the full Senate by a 51-50 vote, a tie broken by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Originally nominated June 24, 2021 for the role of FHA Commissioner by President Joe Biden, Gordon most recently served as President of the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST), a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that facilitates the transfer of foreclosed and abandoned properties from financial institutions to local housing organizations to promote property reuse and neighborhood stability.

When Gordon’s nomination before the Senate Banking Committee ended in a tied vote in October, her nomination to the full Senate for a vote never occurred before the close of 2021, thus forcing President Biden to re-nominate her again.

Gordon previously served as Senior Director of Housing and Consumer Finance at the Center for American Progress, manager of the Single-Family Policy team at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).

“The Board and staff would like to thank Julia for her significant contributions to NCST,” said Andrew Jakabovics, NCST Board Chair. “In six-and-a-half years at the organization, Julia has helped launch multiple new projects, including a highly successful federal policy advocacy initiative and an innovative loan fund to support single-family redevelopment. With a steady hand and positive attitude, she successfully shepherded NCST through the pandemic when the foreclosure moratoria instituted to help homeowners had a severe budget impact on the organization. NCST has greatly benefited from Julia’s unwavering commitment to equitable, affordable homeownership and creating stronger neighborhoods for all, and we are confident that she will bring invaluable leadership and vision to HUD just as she has to NCST.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, Chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, said, “I congratulate Julia Gordon on her confirmation. With decades of experience and support from every corner of the housing community, she has the expertise to help keep families in their homes and to make housing more affordable for everyone. I look forward to working with Ms. Gordon to address housing challenges big and small, and to make real progress toward fairness and equity in our communities.”

Industry reaction overwhelmingly praised the confirmation of Gordon, as many weighed in on the new FHA Commissioner:

  • Bob Broeksmit, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), said, “Her knowledge and experience in housing policy and community development will serve her well as she leads FHA’s mission to support homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income and minority borrowers in underserved communities, as well as increasing affordable rental housing.”
  • Lindsey Johnson, President of U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), said, “USMI welcomes the confirmation of Julia Gordon to serve as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner. In Commissioner Gordon, America gains an accomplished leader with broad experience in the housing finance system, who has specialized in supporting affordable homeownership and consumer protection policies for underserved markets. Her confirmation comes at a critical time as many homeowners, renters, and residents supported by the FHA continue to experience pandemic-related hardships and families face barriers to homeownership due to severely limited supply and record home price appreciation.”
  • The National Housing Conference (NHC) President and CEO David M. Dworkin said, “Julia Gordon brings deep experience to address the significant challenges that face FHA. If we are going to succeed in closing the racial homeownership gap, FHA must be in the forefront. Through her leadership of the National Community Stabilization Trust, she has a nuanced understanding of local housing markets and how they can function sustainably even when under stress. She also has the skills, experience, and relationships to bring people together, both within FHA and among stakeholders, to address challenges collaboratively and effectively.”
  • National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Leslie Rouda Smith said, "Julia Gordon’s accomplished career in real estate has prepared her to lead the FHA at a time when housing in America is at somewhat of a crossroads. We congratulate Commissioner Gordon, and commend Congress for finalizing her confirmation, as rising mortgage rates and persistent, nationwide inventory shortages make it critical to have strong leadership atop the agency. NAR looks forward to continuing our work alongside the FHA to address the country’s six-million-unit gap in safe, affordable housing, particularly as it impacts communities of color, low- and middle-income Americans, and all first-time homebuyers."

Opposing the confirmation before the full Senate Hearing was U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey, who urged his colleagues to oppose Gordon’s nomination. Sen. Toomey cited public statements made by Gordon in the past denigrating the police and disparaging elected officials, noting that her anti-police views and hostility toward those with different political views should disqualify her from holding a senior leadership position at HUD.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know the full extent of Ms. Gordon’s public statements because she deleted some of her previously public tweets before being nominated,” said Sen. Toomey. “I asked her to try to recover her deleted tweets from Twitter, but she refused to comply with this reasonable request. It makes you wonder: What does she have to hide? During the nomination process, Ms. Gordon has tried to walk back her past statements. But I think we should focus on what she said before she was nominated and was seeking the Senate’s approval.”

Sen. Toomey continued, “If Ms. Gordon’s anti-police views and hostility toward one party are not sufficient for some of my colleagues to oppose her, I urge them to look at her record on housing policy. Despite record home and rental prices, Ms. Gordon advocates for throwing more taxpayer money at the housing market.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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