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FHA’s Galante Quitting U.S. Insurer for Berkeley Professorship

Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante said she will step down “this fall” to take a professorship and lead a housing policy group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Galante, who has led the FHA since taking the helm in an acting capacity in July 2011, will become the school’s I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy on Jan. 1, she told the agency’s staff in a memo today. She was confirmed as FHA commissioner on Dec. 30, 2012.

Biniam Gebre, general deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will become acting commissioner after Galante departs, according to the memo.

The FHA insures mortgages for houses, multi-family dwellings and health-care facilities. The agency’s insurance fund took about $1.7 billion from the U.S. Treasury to shore up its finances last year after losses on defaulted mortgages depleted reserves. No further subsidy will be needed, Galante said in March.

“Because of your efforts, we have helped our housing market come back,” she wrote in the memo. “Homeowners’ equity is now over $10 trillion, foreclosure starts are at their lowest levels since 2005, and American families are on pace to purchase over 5 million homes this year alone.”

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