Until he was tapped recently for the National Association of Home Builders' new Housing Hall of Fame, J. Stanley Baughman had been out of the news.
The former president of the Federal National Mortgage Association, retired since 1966, sys he has been living quietly in Bethesda "just taking it easy." He has, however, been serving as an honorary member of the FNMA advisory committee of 23 persons chosen to bring a wide range of views to the Fannie Mae leadership. That leadership is in the hands of Oakley Hunter, now recuperating at home after being hospitalized recently for a fluttering heart beat.
Baughman and Hunter are friends of long standing.And Baughman commented that the Fannie Mae leader "has been doing a good job - what he's supposed to do." But what about the criticism of Fannie Mae, under Hunter, for mainly buying mortgages and not selling them to balance the market? "I'm not going to get into a controversy," said Baughman, "but I will sy that we used to have the opportunity to sell mortgages and make a profit. As I see it in recent years, Fannie Mae might have had to sell at a loss. So keeping mortgages seems to be the right thing to do."
The 79-year-old veteran of long federal service also declined to comment on a Proxmire-Crnston legislative move to put four more Presidentially appointed members on the now 15-member FNMA board. The President now appoints five, one of which is raymond H. Lapin, who followed Baughman in the post and took the secondary mortgage market agency from federal to quasi-public status.
As the first-listed member of the new Housing hall of Fame, created by the home builders, Baughman is among the group chosen for activity during the 1940-49 period. His citation noted: "Under his leadership, Fannie Mae greatly expanded home financing for Americans (and) set a milestone for housing progress. During his tenure 30 per cent of the existing U.S. home inventory was built. He received the President Kennedy award for distinguished federal service."
A native of Pittsburgh and a World War I veteran, Baughman was in the realty and mortgage business in Pittsburgh until he joined the Home Owners' Loan Corp. in 1933. He rose to be general manager of the agency credited with saving more than a million U.S. homes from forecosure during the depression years. In 1950, Baughman was named president of FNMA and served in that post until he retired. His greatest testimonial might have been in his citation from President Kennedy, which noted that Baughman's federal civilian serivce for being done "with extraordinary effectiveness, established and economically managed the world's largest mortgage banking facility, merging harmoniously the interests of the general public, private investors and the government."
With that accolade in his personal portfolio (which does not include any FNMA publicly traded stock), Baughman has earned the right to take a detached but interested view of the political currents now whirling around the nation's largest single supplier of funds for homes and apartments.