The White House announced Friday that it intends to nominate Joseph Smith, the commissioner of banks for North Carolina, as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Smith, if confirmed by the Senate, will replace Edward DeMarco, acting director of the agency, a post he has held since Sept. 1, 2009. FHFA is the primary regulator for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.

"Mr. Smith brings to this position both tremendous expertise and a deep commitment to strengthening our housing finance system for the American people," President Obama said in a press release. "I'm grateful that he has accepted this nomination, and I look forward to working with him in months and years to come."

The highly anticipated nomination comes at a critical time for the administration as it works to draft a plan to reform the U.S. housing finance system, including both mortgage GSEs. The agencies were taken into conservatorship in September 2008. The administration is expected to deliver its plan as called for under the Dodd-Frank Act in January.

Smith became North Carolina commissioner in June 2002, where he supervised state-chartered banks and thrifts, as well as mortgage lenders and brokers.

He was previously former chair of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and founding member of the Board of Managers of State Regulatory Registry.

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