|Copyright:||(c) 2010 SourceMedia Inc , Source: The Financial Times Limited|
|Source:||Financial Times Limited|
Many said Smith, the commissioner of banks for
“It’s hard to think of a better choice; he has the experience and the temperament,” said
“He’s applauded by bankers and consumer advocates alike. I think a lot of that is a testament that he’s not only smart, but he’s a very good listener and, with the broad experience he has, able to craft things that operationally work for everybody. That will serve him well in this new position.”
Those attributes will be sorely needed as Smith, if confirmed by the
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the administration is required to unveil its plan by January to reform U.S. housing policy, along with the troubled mortgage government-sponsored enterprises.
“Mr. Smith brings to this position both tremendous expertise and a deep commitment to strengthening our housing finance system for the American people,”
“I’m grateful that he has accepted this nomination, and I look forward to working with him in months and years to come.”
As commissioner in
Many said in that capacity he worked to build consensus, while still advancing policy on the foreclosure problems in his state.
Colleagues describe Smith as a genuine, likeable person with a persuasive personality who, even on tough issues, would provide criticism constructively.
“He’s very balanced,” said
While Smith has been an outspoken opponent of preemption and even criticized the
As a state regulator and a top official with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Smith has overseen nonbank mortgage lenders and supported the creation of a national mortgage licensing system. Many said that would provide him valuable insight into the housing finance system.
“He sees a real balance between the role government plays in terms of ensuring a sound financial system as well as access to credit as well as a strong view on consumer protection, as evidenced by how progressive he has been in his state on mortgage origination,” he said in an interview.
“He will bring a very strong perspective as a commissioner, as a bank regulator, very close to the issues of residential mortgage financing and a strong interest in consumer protection. I think it’s a perfect choice because of his background and priorities,” Neiman said.
Some observers said Smith would likely bring a fresh perspective to the GSE dilemma.
“He’s not understood to be a Republican or Democrat on these issues,” said
“He’s understood to be a person who wants to find viable compromise, or a practical result that works. I don’t seem him as a turn-everything-upside-down kind of reformer, I also don’t see him as complacent about the status quo and just trying to hold onto the interest of the most powerful party,” Baxter said. “On the contrary, he personally worries a lot about if we are losing our way in financial practices.”
“He really does come to this with an open mind,” Calhoun said. “He appreciates the role of government in housing and recognizes its importance, he also recognizes the moral hazard and the excesses in the mortgage industry in the last decade. But I think one of the things that will make him well suited for this position is that people are going to quickly find out he is a fair broker on this issue and will truly listen to all sides and look at the data and look at the different options.”
Some lawmakers have already been impressed. Rep.
“I just think that he has a good sound grounding in financial institutions supervision, knows what to look for and knows how to deal with financial institutions,” he said. “My experience with him is he has very good judgment and doesn’t overreact.”