HUD No. 07-086
June 15, 2007
COUCH SWORN IN AS HUD'S GENERAL COUNSEL
Former Ginnie Mae president becomes HUD's top lawyer
WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today delivered the official oath of office to Robert M. Couch to become HUD's new General Counsel. As the former president of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), Couch will now become the Department's chief legal officer and senior legal counsel to Secretary Jackson, providing advice on all aspects of federal housing and development laws, regulations and policies.
"I am immensely honored to serve both this nation and this Administration as HUD's chief legal officer," said Couch. "I hope to continue applying the highest ethical standards to the Department's work and to serve this Secretary as we improve the policies and programs that help so many families to discover their American Dream. I'm excited about joining this Department's mission to build better communities and to help people access decent and affordable housing."
Couch will lead a legal team of approximately 400 attorneys in Washington, D.C., 10 regional offices and 40 field offices around the country. Couch brings a wealth of private sector experience to HUD in his new capacity. Prior to serving at Ginnie Mae, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of New South Federal Savings Bank in Birmingham, the largest thrift in Alabama, with $1.8 billion in assets. He also served as General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer of First Commercial Bancshares, a bank holding company headquartered in Birmingham.
Previously, Couch served on the boards of several other civic and professional organizations including the Real Estate Roundtable and the Thrift Industry Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board. In addition, Couch was Chairman of the Planning Commission of the City of Mountain Brook, Alabama; President of the Washington and Lee University Law Alumni Association; Chairman of the Lakeshore Foundation; Chairman of Lakeshore Hospital; and a member of Fannie Mae's National Advisory Council.
Couch received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting and his law degree from Washington & Lee University. Following law school, Mr. Couch clerked for the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Honorable John M. Wisdom, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a certified public accountant (inactive) and member of the Arkansas Society of Public Accountants. He and his wife reside in Washington, DC. They have two daughters, Mary Stuart and Frances.