Birmingham attorney Robert Couch to oversee Puerto Rico, USVI disaster recovery funds for HUD 

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Robert Couch
[Photo Credit: Linked-In]

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a familiar Birmingham face rejoining its ranks. Attorney Robert Couch has parted ways with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Birmingham office, after accepting a position to return to HUD to serve as the Federal Financial Monitor to oversee the grant administration and disbursement process of disaster recovery funds to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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, Couch is overseeing HUD’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)-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.

“We are glad to have Robert re-join our Department to manage our financial oversight operations in Puerto Rico,” said Secretary Carson. “He has an extensive background with decades of private and public sector experience dealing with financial reporting, risk management, and executing the law. 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.”

“I greatly appreciate the Secretary’s confidence in me,” added Couch. “I share his dedication to the recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and his determination to ensuring that the funds entrusted to HUD by Congress for the survivors are expended as quickly as possible while still safeguarding against waste, fraud and abuse. I look forward to working with the disaster recovery teams in both locales, and I thank Olga Castellón, the Acting FFM, for paving the way so I can hit the ground running.”

Couch previously served as HUD’s General Counsel from December 2006 to November 2008 where he 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. He also served as President of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), 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.

Prior to his government service, Couch was President and Chief Executive Officer of New South Federal Savings Bank in Birmingham, Ala., and acted as General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer of First Commercial Bancshares. He is a former Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, former President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama, a Certified Public Accountant (inactive), and a Certified Mortgage Banker (Master Certificate).