Real estate industry figures and government officials extended a warm goodbye to financial watchdog and U.S. Representative Michael G. Oxley, R-Ohio, whose retirement was announced Tuesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association called the announced retirement of Oxley, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, after 25 years a loss for the housing industry and consumers alike, “as he recognized the role the housing industry played in the U.S. economy.”

Oxley will retire from Congress at the end of his current term, completing 25 years of service in Congress and a total of 33 years in elected office. Oxley was serving in the Ohio General Assembly when he won a special election for the Fourth Congressional District seat in 1981.

“Rep. Oxley stands as an important example of how much a Chairman can get done with perseverance and compromise,” said Kurt Pfotenhauer, MBA’s senior vice president of government affairs. Rep. Oxley demonstrated his leadership with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Fair and Accurate Transactions Act and the Patriot Act, among others, the MBA said.

As Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Oxley has passed landmark legislation.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the corporate reform legislation passed by Congress in the wake of major accounting scandals, bears his name. Oxley’s committee held the first hearing on the collapse of the Enron Corp., and within months helped produce the bill signed by President Bush.

“Chairman Oxley has been an outstanding leader; and his work in the House of Representatives has had an historic impact on banking and securities law,” said Edward L. Yingling, CEO of the American Bankers Association.

“Over the years, he has worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help pass legislation such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the eponymous Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Through these landmark laws, Chairman Oxley has left an indelible mark on the financial services and business communities,” Yingling said. He said Oxley has been “a valued friend” to the banking industry.

In his role as chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Oxley oversaw a critical period for the country’s financial markets, according to John W. Snow, U.S. Treasure Secretary.

“The landmark corporate responsibility legislation enacted under his leadership – and which bears his name – shored up inventors in the face of events which shook their confidence. In addition, his hard work to establish greater transparence and increased disclosures for mutual fund investors provided greater protections and investment security for millions of Americans,” said Snow in a statement.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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