At this morning´s in-and-out press event at the Treasury Department, we noticed a funny thing: the prominent role given James Lockhart, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He´s one high-profile Republican appointee who doesn´t appear to be headed out the door anytime soon.
The event at the Treasury was billed as a meeting between Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, and Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The two were predictably seated beside one another at a large table peopled with other housing policy bigwigs. Mr. Lockhart sat on the other side of Mr. Geithner. He looked chipper!
Mr. Geithner and Mr. Donovan spoke about the importance of the Obama Administration´s new foreclosure-prevention plan. The things they revealed weren´t terribly surprising: An $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, courtesy of the stimulus package; and an increase in the Federal Housing Administration´s insured loan limit, designed to help more borrowers refinance their homes with FHA loans. Mr. Geithner spoke for a few minutes about the importance of implementing the anti-foreclosure plans quickly. He also mentioned the essential role the government-sponsored enterprises would play in the plan.
Mr. Lockhart didn´t say anything. There weren´t any new GSE-related details to announce. But he did look ready to buckle down and figure some things out once the reporters were ferried away. Unlike Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, who has neither been seen nor heard lately and is apparently not too friendly with the newcomers, it looks like Mr. Lockhart has found a comfortable spot in the new administration-at least for now.