WASHINGTON -- Dwight Robinson, recently tapped to be the next president of the Government National Mortgage Association, is likely to lead a marked expansion of the agency.
Mr. Robinson's background and ties to federal housing officials suggest that he will work closely with the Federal Housing Administration as it expands its mortgage program, industry officials say. That, in turn, should boost Ginnie Mae's business volume, because most FHA loans are bundled as Ginnie Mae securities.
At the same time, mortgage bankers are looking to Mr. Robinson to quickly get Ginnie Mae into the business of issuing real estate mortgage investment conduits, or Remics. Earlier this month, Congress authorized the agency to issue these multiclass securities.
Mr. Robinson, 40, is currently an affordable-housing executive at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. The White House has announced its intention to nominate him for the Ginnie Mae post following a background check.
In an interview last week, Mr. Robinson studiously declined to comment on his nomination.
But he did voice support for a move by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to adopt a more activist role in providing housing for lower-income people. HUD is the parent of both FHA and Ginnie Mae.
"HUD's on the right track," he said.
Originations Are Off
Ginnie Mae's main business is guaranteeing securities backed by FHA and Veterans Administration mortgages. But originations of those loans have fallen sharply in recent years, diminishing Ginnie Mae's stature.
Last year, the government-insured mortgages accounted for less than 9% of all new loans, down from 20% in 1980, according to the newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance.
As a key architect of Freddie Mac's programs for lower-income people, Mr. Robinson is in a good position to help reinvigorate the government's mortgage programs, mortgage executives say.
Mr. Robinson's appointment would "move Ginnie Mae to being a partner with the Federal Housing Administration," said Robert M. O'Toole, senior staff vice president at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
"This is a fellow who's been on the ground doing the kinds of deals that Ginnie Mae securitizes," added John McEvoy, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Finance Agencies. "He's not some political appointment brought in off the street."
Mr. Robinson, to be sure, is not without Washington connections. As deputy executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority from 1986 to 1990, he worked for Terry DuVernay, now deputy secretary of HUD.
Both men lost their jobs when the Democratic governor, Jim Blanchard, lost the election in 1990. Mr. DuVernay left to work for Gov. Zell Miller, D-Ga., an early Clinton supporter. Mr. Robinson came to Washington to work for Freddie Mac.
Some mortgage executives hope that Mr. Robinson will put the highest priority on getting a Remic program off the ground. Though Ginnie Mae has discussed a Remic program for years, little headway has been made since Raoul L. Carrol resigned as president last November.
"We think that's kind of stalled without a Ginnie Mae head. We'd like to move it forward," said Herbert L. Carrell, chairman of BancPlus Mortgage Corp. in San Antonio.
Remics are backed by basic, pass-through mortgage securities. In theory, a Gennie Mae Remic program will boost demand for Ginnie Mae pass-throughs, which will allow lenders to offer government-insured loans at slightly lower rates.