You are here:HomeNews CenterInsurance News2009President Obama to Keep Sheila Bair at FDIC

President Obama to Keep Sheila Bair at FDIC

President Obama will keep Sheila Bair as head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), according to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.)....
January 22, 2009

President Obama will keep Sheila Bair as head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), according to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Rep. Frank said Obama's transition team told him Bair will remain at the agency. Her term as Chairman doesn't expire until 2011, but said she would step down if the Obama team wanted someone new to lead the agency.

Bair has been an independent voice during the nation's financial crisis. She demonstrated a willingness to disagree not only with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, but also with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and incoming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The 54-year-old Kansas Republican has been a key player in many of the government's controversial actions to contain the financial crisis. She has also championed foreclosure prevention and has prodded banks and mortgage-servicing companies to modify loans for struggling borrowers.

In November 2008, Bair told directors of the American Insurance Association (AIA) in an off-the-record briefing that Congressional approval of federal regulation of insurance appears unlikely in 2009, and that an optional federal charter may never be created. The National Underwriter obtained a summary of Bair's remarks, confirmed them through other sources and published them. Bair said plans to create an optional federal charter may fall by the wayside, as the Administration seeks to consolidate regulatory agencies, not create new ones. She also noted that federal oversight in general, and a federal charter in particular, face a difficult uphill climb because insurance "is not in any financial trouble, and it is state-regulated, so it is not in the sights of those will be involved in federal financial services regulatory reform."