Fannie Regulator Names Interim Replacement for Lockhart


The federal agency that regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac named Thursday an interim replacement for its director, who is stepping down at the end of the month.

Edward DeMarco, chief operating officer of the Federal Housing Finance Agency is being picked as acting director, replacing James Lockhart, who confirmed his resignation. The Obama administration has not chosen a permanent replacement.

Lockhart, who was appointed more than three years ago by former President George W. Bush, stayed under President Barack Obama to help Fannie Mae and sibling company Freddie Mac stabilize after being seized by the government last fall.

DeMarco, 49, has worked at the agency since October 2006. Before that, he worked at the Social Security Administration and The Treasury Department.

The administration is expected to unveil its plans for Fannie and Freddie next year. Options being considered include keeping the companies private, winding down their operations, merging them into a federal agency or separating out their bad mortgage assets into a new company backed by the government.

Fearing the companies would soon go under, the government seized control of them last September. Since then, McLean, Va.-based Freddie has tapped nearly $51 billion in government aid to cope with mounting loan defaults, while Washington-based Fannie has taken about $34 billion.

The two companies play a vital role in the mortgage market by purchasing loans from lenders and selling them to investors. Together, the companies own or guarantee almost 31 million home loans worth about $5.4 trillion. That's about half of all U.S home mortgages.

Besides Fannie and Freddie, FHFA regulates the 12 regional banks that make up the Federal Home Loan Bank system