Do you remember David Stevens?
He was the former CBA all-star for Long and Foster Realty and before that with Wells Fargo Mortgage. In 2009, President Obama tapped him — much to the chagrin of those who care about the title insurance industry — to run FHA under current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. The Stevens nomination was contested when it was learned that Stevens’ former employer was allegedly involved on the wrong side of a RESPA class action suit. Stevens managed to get nominated several months later despite the opposition.
Stevens ran FHA for less than two years. His tenure was gloriously summarized in this Washington Post piece back in April, 2011. In essence, he had a tough job that required an industry insider to massage for a few years. It is especially noteworthy that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan was quoted talking about Stevens’ tenure in this way back in April of 2011:
“His leadership at a historic time for FHA has not only contributed to a renewed sense of confidence in the FHA, but also a restored trust in government and what it can do.”
Let’s be honest, though. He did what he did, unremarkably, and then realized that he was the short-term captain of the RMS Titanic and then quit to take a job as CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (the trade organization that strategically defaulted on their own DC HQs; a fact hilariously satirized in 2010 on the Daily Show). If you don’t remember that segment, we can’t let ignorance stand in the way of good comedy.
Anyway, fast forward eight months to today’s article in the Wall Stree Journal. According to Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, it appears that FHA is on the verge of the next publicly-funded “bailout” because it is undereserved and will soon “run out of money”.
“FHA is likely a disaster in the making,’ said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas). “If we’re not careful, it may even become Fannie and Freddie, the sequel.”
Apparently the shelf life on restoring confidence in the FHA lasts no more than eight short months. One wonders what hyperbolic, overly-sunny language HUD Secretary Donovan wants to use to describe FHA or Mr. Stevens’ work as today?
Meanwhile, somewhere Stevens is breaking his arm patting himself on the back for one of the greatest escapes this side of Houdini. Which reinforces the fact that referral sources never end up without a chair when the music stops. Ever.