Obama picks acting chief of housing agency

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 30, 2011 4:44 PM
Obama picks acting chief of housing agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has chosen the chief risk officer of the Federal Housing Administration to be the agency's acting commissioner, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said on Wednesday.

Bob Ryan will take the helm on April 1, replacing David Stevens, who announced earlier this month he would leave the government to run the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Ryan joined the FHA in 2009 as the agency's first chief risk officer after 26 years at home financing company Freddie Mac.

Ryan takes over an agency whose share of the mortgage market ballooned as the availability of credit tightened after the U.S. housing bubble burst. The FHA now insures about one-third of all new home purchase loans, compared with less than 4 percent before the housing bust, according to industry publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

The Obama administration is still working to find a permanent replacement for Stevens, though analysts said that may not happen before the 2012 elections.

A permanent replacement would have to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The FHA does not make loans directly but guarantees those that meet certain conditions.

(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Kenneth Barry)