Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

2 of 11
BACKNEXT
Hero: Sheila Bair
Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"We will dig out of this. And when we do, I hope for a back-to-basics society." -- Fortune, Dec. 10, 2008

Here's one regulator who performed well under pressure (something in precious short supply in 2008). Indeed, she has emerged as a champion for consumers.

When Bair, a lawyer, academic and former regulator at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, took over at the FDIC in 2006, she says she thought her biggest issue would be whether Wal-Mart should have a bank. But after conducting an analysis of bank loans that revealed an alarming pattern of lax lending standards, Bair quickly realized the trouble ahead.

Under her leadership, the FDIC was one of the first government agencies to flag problems in aggressive mortgage lending. In the spring of 2007, Bair began calling for the industry to modify home loans on a large scale, not only to help homeowners but also to limit the damage to the institutions that made the risky loans.

In 2008, Bair supported the fight by Congress to increase deposit insurance limits to $250,000 from $100,000 to provide more protection for individual investors. And she's spearheading government efforts to renegotiate mortgages to keep people in their homes and stem foreclosures. --D.R.

NEXT: Hero: Aaron Patzer
Last updated December 12 2008: 6:01 AM ET
More Galleries
Super Bowl bound? Things to do in Houston besides the big game If you're one of the thousands of fans are headed to Houston for the Super Bowl Sunday, here are five things to do when you're not at the stadium. More
Sneak peek at Super Bowl 51 ads The ghost of Spuds MacKenzie and an ad about immigration steal the show in the swell of upcoming Super Bowl ads. Advertisers are paying, on average, $5 million for 30-second spots during Sunday's game on Fox. But if you want to watch something other than commercials, the New England Patriots happen to be playing the Atlanta Falcons. More
Most expensive cars from the Scottsdale collector car auctions The ten most expensive cars sold at the annual Arizona collector auctions went or a total of $44 million. More

Special Offer