Bradley is pleased to announce that Robert M. Couch, former counsel in the firm’s Birmingham office, has rejoined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the Federal Financial Monitor overseeing the grant administration and disbursement process of disaster recovery funds to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He previously served as HUD general counsel from December 2006 to November 2008.
Mr. Couch was selected for the position by HUD Secretary Ben Carson in response to reports of financial mismanagement and corruption in Puerto Rico. As a career member of HUD’s Senior Executive Service, Mr. Couch is overseeing HUD's Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, which involves aid intended to help the island nation's recovery from Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 and to help it prepare for future natural disasters.
“With his background in government service including his past leadership at HUD, along with his deep experience in the banking and financial services sector involving financial reporting and risk management, Rob is an ideal choice to oversee HUD’s ongoing relief effort for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Bradley Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner Jonathan M. Skeeters. “We wish Rob the best in his new role.”
According to Secretary Carson from HUD’s official announcement of the appointment, “Robert will be an asset in supporting HUD’s mission to continue aiding recovery efforts in Puerto Rico while ensuring that appropriated funds are used in a responsible manner and for their intended purpose.”
While serving as HUD general counsel, Mr. Couch acted as the chief legal advisor to the secretary, deputy secretary and other principal staff, providing advice on federal laws, regulations and policies affecting HUD programs.
At Bradley, Mr. Couch has been a member of the Banking and Financial Services Practice Group. He has focused his practice on mortgage lenders and investors in the forward mortgage and reverse mortgage industries; affordable housing; regulatory matters involving HUD, the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), the Federal Housing Administration, and other government-sponsored enterprise matters; and governmental affairs.
Previously, Mr. Couch also served as president of Ginnie Mae, as a commissioner on the Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission, and as a member of President George W. Bush's Task Force on the Status of Puerto Rico in 2008.
Prior to his government service, Mr. Couch was president and CEO of New South Federal Savings Bank in Birmingham. He also served as general counsel and CFO of First Commercial Bancshares. An active member of the mortgage banking industry, he is a former chairman and a member of the board of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. He has also served as president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama.