U.S. Congressman Mel Watt, the incoming director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said he plans to delay the increase in fees on government-backed loans that the agency announced this month.
The North Carolina Democrat was nominated by President Barack Obama in May and confirmed on Dec. 10 by the Senate to head the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Watt said in an email late on Friday he expected to be sworn into office on Jan. 6. He replaces Edward DeMarco, a career civil servant who has led the FHFA in an acting capacity since 2009.
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"Upon being sworn in ... I intend to announce that the FHFA will delay implementation'' of the mortgage-fee increases "until such time as I have had the opportunity to evaluate fully the rationale for the plan and the plan's impact,'' Watt said.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two taxpayer-owned mortgage finance companies, are set to increase their guarantee fees in 2014. Such fees are typically passed along to borrowers, resulting in higher mortgage rates.