Corker Votes To Confirm Carol Galante To Head FHA

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tn., a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, on Sunday voted in favor of Carol Galante to be an assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development and commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration.  

Prior to announcing his support for Ms. Galante, who was confirmed by the Senate on Sunday, Senator Corker secured a commitment from her to make substantial changes to FHA underwriting requirements in order to begin restoring financial stability at FHA after substantial losses, primarily from a flawed reverse mortgage program.

“I’m as frustrated as anyone with the losses taking place at FHA and our failure to implement fundamental housing reform, but given Carol Galante’s commitment to make important changes that will help return FHA to its original mission of making affordable loans accessible to qualified first-time home buyers, I voted to confirm her as an assistant secretary of housing and FHA commissioner.  I look forward to working with her as she puts in place the reforms she has promised as well as others that are needed to get FHA back on track,” said Corker.  “The steps that FHA has taken thus far are just a beginning, and going forward, I am fully committed to pushing both Congress and the administration to take up and address the critical issue of structural housing finance reform in this country.”

Ms. Galante sent Senator Corker a letter on Dec. 18, committing unequivocally to the following important reforms to be put in place by Jan. 31:

· Placing a moratorium on the full drawdown reverse mortgage program to assess its viability after $2.8 billion in losses.  This would put a hold on a program that insures reverse mortgages in which people could draw down all of the equity in their homes.

· Substantially increasing underwriting criteria for borrowers with FICO scores between 580 and 620 by establishing a meaningful maximum debt-to-income ratio. This will dramatically decrease borrower default rates.

· Increasing the down payment requirement and the insurance pricing for loans between $625,000 and $729,000 to protect FHA against loss on high balance loans that are outside Fannie and Freddie conforming loan limits. This will also help to scale back the government’s footprint in the housing market.

· Increasing underwriting requirements for borrowers who have been foreclosed upon within the last seven years.

Senator Corker has continually expressed concerns over the pace of reforms at FHA, most recently raising several issues with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan at a December 6 banking committee hearing on the state of FHA’s financial condition. A transcript of the hearing can be found here.  He also continues to work with his colleagues on reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to protect taxpayers from further losses and rebuild the private mortgage market.


Chattanoogan Kathy Tucker Elected 2017 Secretary-Treasurer For Tennessee Realtors

Kathy Tucker, managing broker of Crye-Leike Realtors in Chattanooga, was installed as 2017 secretary-treasurer for the Tennessee Association of Realtors at its fall convention. She will serve in this key role as part of the statewide association’s 10-member executive committee. Ms. Tucker , CRS, GRI, is a veteran of 38 years as a realtor. She is a member of the Greater ... (click for more)

Andy Hodes Receives RCS-D Designation

Andy Hodes, with Keller Williams Realty East Brainerd has completed course work to earn the RCS-D  designation as a Real Estate Collaboration Specialist – Divorce. An RCS-D realtor is professionally trained to neutralize divorce real estate as a business transaction in the best interest of the house – and each divorcing spouse. Mr. Hodes can be reached at 423 595-7355 ... (click for more)

City To Begin Shipping Much Of Its Garbage To Bradley County

City Public Works Administrator Justin Holland said the city plans to begin shipping much of its garbage to Bradley County. He said the deal is projected to extend the life of the city landfill at Birchwood by 15 years. Mr. Holland said Bradley County "has a huge landfill and takes garbage from Knoxville and other municipalities. It's regional." He said Bradley County charges ... (click for more)

Man Says He Did Nothing To Provoke Shooting At Bakewell Gas Station; Suspect Says Victim Was Coming Toward Him

A 33-year-old man who was shot in the face during a clash at a Bakewell gas station said he did nothing to provoke the shooting. The man charged said the victim cursed him, then started toward him. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, after a hearing on Tuesday, bound to the Grand Jury a charge of attempted first-degree murder against Donald Stuard II, 29, of Old Washington ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 2.0 Embarrassment

Let’s pretend you are coming to a new and exciting world. You are on the jolly good ship “Mayflower” when some Miles Standish-type of a guy (he was the Pilgrim’s first cop) calls you into is presence and says, “Within two hours we are expected to stand on Plymouth Rock. Please come up with ten primary goals we should have in our public schools.” I believe you could do it within ... (click for more)