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Long & Foster exec will run FHA

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Long & Foster Cos. President and Chief Operating Officer David H. Stevens has been confirmed by the Senate as the Obama administration's choice to head the Federal Housing Administration.The mortgage industry veteran succeeds Brian Montgomery as federal housing commissioner at a time when demand for FHA-backed loans has surged, but record claims threaten to put the program in the red for the first time since 1934 (see story).In prepared testimony to the Senate Banking Committee in April, Stevens acknowledged that FHA loans originated in 2007 and 2008 with high loan-to-value ratios, seller-funded down-payment assistance programs and, in some cases "questionable lender behaviors," could cause "some stress on the program in the months going forward."Stevens said his top priority would be to ensure that the FHA loan guarantee program -- which has historically been entirely funded by mortgage-insurance premiums paid by borrowers -- does not require taxpayer assistanc...