WASHINGTON — In an unexpected move, Steve Preston, administrator of the Small Business Administration, accepted the position today of Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, replacing Alphonso Jackson, whose last day on the job is today.

President Bush nominated Preston for the post, saying HUD "requires strong leadership at a time when our housing market is experiencing a period of challenge and uncertainty."

Preston, who has been at the helm of SBA since July 2006, had made a number of reforms within the agency including efforts to improve the agency's outreach to small businesses impacted by disasters. He had also continued dialogue and alliances with NCUA to increase the number of credit union SBA lenders.

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