Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Steven Spears to be executive director of the California Housing Finance Agency. Spears has served as acting executive director since late 2008, as the agency has navigated through the nation’s credit crunch and the state’s downward real estate market.

The state Senate must now confirm Spears.

Spears joined CalHFA in 2006, as chief deputy director. In addition to a long private-sector career, he also served as deputy state treasurer for public finance between 1995 and 1998 under Treasurer Matt Fong, and as legal counsel to Fong between 1991 and 1995 when Fong served on the state Board of Equalization.

“He has led the agency in dealing with the disruption in the credit markets as well as the important role we have in assisting both CalHFA and non-CalHFA borrowers to remain in their homes,” Peter Carey, chairman of the agency’s board, said in a statement.

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