The most important appointment for the housing industry under the new Clinton administration will be the Treasury secretary, and the best choice there would be Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. That is the consensus. although not a unanimous one. among trade association leaders, lobbyists and other experts on the housing industry interviewed in the wake of last Tuesday's election.
"A Volcker appointment would be a signal to the business community that President Clinton won't get rolled by a spendthrift Congress," asserted a former Bush administration official. Volcker, who served as Fed chairman during the Carter and first Reagan administrations is credited--or blamed--for restrictive monetary policies that broke the back of inflation but led to the 1981-1982 recession.
The point is consistent with the view expressed prior to the election by former Mortgage Bankers Association president Angelo R. Mozilo that the Carter administration was awash with good ideas for housing, but that soaring interest rates made new initiatives next to impossible.
A similar need for sound fiscal management could dictate the profile of the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Many housing industry experts view HUD as a giant financial institution. dominated by the Federal Housing Administration, that has been badly managed during the past 12 years.
Among the names mentioned for the HUD Job are Mayor Raymond Flynn of Boston; Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore; Robert Nash, director of the Arkansas Development and Financing Authority;, former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros; and Vincent Lane. chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority since 1988. Lane was the clear preference of sources interviewed by The Mortgage Market
No sources suggested names for either the director or the deputy director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. the new regulator of the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Although the new agency was designed to be within HUD but independent of the HUD secretary, sources agreed that the top department posts probably will be filled before nominees are selected for the GSE regulatory Jobs.