MReport January 2020

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20 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY O n October 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that Brian D. Montgomery had been nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of HUD. It was one high point in a career filled with many, as Montgomery was already serving as HUD's Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner. Under this new role, Montgomery would manage the day-to-day operations of the agency and assist HUD Secretary Dr. Benjamin Carson in leading the department's nearly 8,000 employees. "Brian brings tremendous experience to our team and has been a strong voice in the effort to reform the Nation's hous- ing finance system," Carson said in a statement. "As Federal Housing Commissioner, Brian made certain FHA remains a stable and reliable resource for first-time and minority homebuy- ers, and other underserved borrowers while protecting the inter- ests of taxpayers. Brian is a key member of our team, and I look forward to having him confirmed as our Deputy Secretary." Montgomery—the first person to serve as the head of the Federal Housing Administration twice and under three dif- ferent Administrations—said of the nomination, "Once again, I am tremendously honored to be called upon by President Trump and Secretary Carson to serve this Department and the American people. Service to our fellow Americans is the cornerstone of our Department, and I look forward to continuing to help fulfill HUD's critical role." Shortly before that nomination, Montgomery spoke exclu- sively to DS News about the challenges and priorities he was engaged with at HUD and FHA, and we're pleased to bring you the content of that discussion in this, the first issue of 2020. Read on for insights from one of the key figures helping shape the industry in 2020 and beyond. M // What are your top three priorities at FHA as you approach the new year? MONTGOMERY // Well, there's probably several top threes, or maybe a top 300. One, you saw with the housing finance reform paper. FHA has stayed true to its mission as the hallmark of first-time homebuyers, minority homebuyers, and low- to moderate-income homebuyers for decades. It is not our goal to encroach upon the private sector, or certainly the conventional market, and private mortgage insurers have a significant role to play with the GSEs, but we want to make sure FHA is there in the good times and the bad. Technology is another focus. When I had this job before in the Bush and Obama administrations, I used to say, "We need to get our technology into the late '90s." Little did I know, 10 years later, we'd still be saying that. Luckily, Congress got behind us and provided an initial $20 million on what we hope will ultimately be an $80 million allotment toward updating almost our entire technology suite. The third leg of that stool is that we want to protect taxpayers. We are, by and large, self-sustaining. Each year we have to make sure we have more cash inlays than cash outflows. We're not chasing a profit, per se, but Congress does require us to bring in more money than we pay out in claims, and we have a long record of that. FHA has been around since 1934, and I see it living far into the future. M // How is FHA working to assist the needs of minority borrowers on the path to homeownership? MONTGOMERY // As I mentioned, FHA has been the hallmark of minority homebuyers for decades, and that hasn't changed. It's ebbed and flowed, and I believe minority home- Shaping the Future of HUD and FHA The Hon. Brian D. Montgomery speaks with MReport about the False Claims Act, better aligning with the GSEs, and bringing the organization's technology into the 21st century.

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