Report: Long & Foster Exec to Head FHA

Long & Foster Cos. may soon be looking for a new president and chief operating officer, as David H. Stevens has reportedly been tapped to head the Federal Housing Administration by the Obama administration.

Stevens, who was promoted to president and COO of Chantilly, Va.-based Long & Foster in October, is a veteran of the mortgage industry.

Before joining Long & Foster in July 2006 as president of the company's affiliated mortgage, title and insurance businesses, Stevens held executive positions at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Freddie Mac and World Savings Bank. At Freddie Mac, Stevens was senior vice president of the single-family business, responsible for sales and marketing, affordable lending, product development, loan prospector, and communications for the firm.

The Obama administration chose a mortgage industry insider to head up FHA because even as it insures a growing percentage of home loans, the default rate on those loans is growing, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

The White House and HUD, which oversees the FHA, have not confirmed Stevens' nomination. Citing an anonymous source, the Post said Stevens has been undergoing background checks and that his nomination could be announced today.

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. claims to be the nation's largest privately owned real estate company, operating more than 200 sales offices in seven states and the District of Columbia with a combined sales force of more than 14,000 agents and 1,850 support staff.

While employed at Long & Foster, Stevens has also served on the board of directors of the Real Estate Services Providers Council Inc., or RESPRO, a trade association representing companies that provide services through affliated businesses, including subsidiaries, joint ventures and strategic partnerships. RESPRO and other industry groups have fought changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, being implemented this year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The changes are aimed at helping consumers comparison shop for the best deal on a mortgage and settlement services such as title insurance.

Former Wachovia Bank and World Savings executive Tim Wilson was named to succeed Stevens as president of the company's affiliated businesses -- Prosperity Mortgage Co., Long & Foster Insurance Agency Inc., and Long & Foster Settlement Services -- in January.

The Obama administration last week announced it would nominate a University of Southern California professor, Raphael Bostic, as HUD's assistant secretary for policy development and research. In announcing the nomination, the White House said Bostic is an expert on housing and homeownership who has studied credit markets and financing.