2009 Profile in Courage Award recipient FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, May 18, 2009.

Background

Sheila Bair has been called a “lone voice in the wilderness” for her early warnings about the sub-prime lending crisis and for her dogged criticism of both Wall Street’s and the government’s management of the subsequent financial meltdown. As early as 2001, Bair was urging sub-prime lenders to agree on a set of best practices to prevent abuses. Since the onset of the current crisis, she, more than any other government official, has pushed for direct assistance to distressed homeowners as part of the overall effort to stabilize the financial system, a move fiercely resisted by many leaders in both the public and the private sectors. Recently, however, the government has begun to implement many of her mortgage-modification proposals in an effort to slow the alarming increase in foreclosures. Sheila C. Bair was sworn in as the 19th Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) on June 26, 2006, and is currently serving a five-year term.