NC bank commissioner named to run federal agency

North Carolina's banking commissioner has been nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The White House on Friday announced that Joseph Smith Jr. is the president's choice to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, subject to Senate confirmation. Smith would replace acting director Edward DeMarco.

The nomination comes as the agency works to clean up the mess of losses suffered by Fannie and Freddie when the housing crash hit the loans they backed. The agency projected last month that bailing out Fannie and Freddie could cost as much as $259 billion through 2013.

Smith has been state commissioner since 2002. His office has been involved in efforts to eliminate payday lending in North Carolina and prevent mortgage foreclosures.