FHA commissioner Carole Galante to step down, become campus professor

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Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and Assistant Secretary for Housing Carol Galante has announced that she will be stepping down to become a UC Berkeley professor.

On Monday, Galante said she would serve as the I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy, working also as an adjunct professor in the department of city and regional planning. She will also serve as director of the Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy and co-chair of the policy advisory board for the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics.

Both the UC Berkeley program and the Fisher Center promote education and research on urban economics and public policy.

Galante, a UC Berkeley alumna, has worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for five years. She was confirmed as FHA commissioner in 2012, where she manages its trillion dollar insurance portfolio and helped formulate the agency’s response to the housing crisis.

“Being a part of the Obama administration, she has had the most admirable set of opportunities and accomplishments and challenges that happened in the middle of the greatest housing finance meltdown in the history of the planet,” said Larry Rosenthal, former executive director of the Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy and current assistant adjunct professor of public policy.

Galante led the FHA when, for the first time in its history, it had to appropriate money from Congress. Now, though, because of increases in mortgage borrower fees, it is expected to be rid of its debt by the end of the year.

The FHA insures mortgage loans throughout the United States.

“She’s played a major role in developing programs that protected people during the economic downturn,” said Jennifer Wolch, dean of the College of Environmental Design and a professor of city and regional planning. “She has done a number of very important things to stabilize the FHA and make it an effective actor in the larger mortgage market.”

Prior to working for the federal government, Galante served as president of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing developer. Affordable housing leader Don Terner, in whose memory her new professorship was named, previously held the same position.

According to Wolch, Galante’s background working to provide communities with affordable housing will bring a breadth of knowledge to her new teaching position.

“(This) is a tremendous resource for students who are interested in understanding how cities work, how to provide people with more affordable housing choices and how to help people move into home ownership,” Wolsh said.

Galante will begin her professorship in January.

Contact Sumaiya Mubarack at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @sumaiyamubarack.