After the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Housing Administration put a floor under the housing market by continuing to back loans to low-income borrowers. Now the agency must work to stabilize its own finances or risk a taxpayer bailout to cover expected losses, mostly on Bush-era loans. Stabilizing the FHA fund is Galante's first priority. "We have more work to do, but we've gotten a really good start," she says, adding that the agency must continue to serve as a source of credit for those in need. Galante, 59, served as acting FHA commissioner for a year and a half before her confirmation in December 2012. She joined HUD in 2009 as deputy assistant secretary for multifamily housing programs. Galante previously served as president and chief executive of BRIDGE Housing Corp., California's largest nonprofit developer of mixed-income, mixed-use housing. Taking a cue from her executive background, Galante is focused on making HUD more efficient and effective. The Philadelphia native's lifelong interest in housing can be traced back to an urban geography class she took as an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan University. "I was on a path thinking I was going to be a public-interest lawyer," Galante said, but she found herself drawn to urban planning. She holds a master's in city planning from the University of California (Berkeley).
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