President/CEO, American Bankers Association
"When the capital program was announced, the headlines read 'Bank Bailout' when clearly it was not. To my knowledge, no one in the banking industry requested a capital program, and the ABA certainly did not." -- Testimony before House Committee on Financial Services, Nov. 18, 2008
The face of the ABA, Yingling spent much of 2008 railing against banking regulation in any form - in a year when it became crystal clear that more, not less, regulation is crucial to repair the U.S. financial system.
One of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, he poured his energies into blocking efforts by Congress and the Federal Reserve to curb egregious credit-card practices, such as unexpected hikes in interest rates on pre-existing card balances and imposing interest charges on two account periods, also known as double-cycle billing.
In May, he called the Federal Reserve's credit card reform proposal (expected to be enacted in 2009) "an unprecedented regulatory intrusion." Speaking before Congress in October about proposals to beef up banking regulation, Yingling called the system for regulating banks "resilient" and warned that new regulatory policies could stifle lending.
We'll take our chances. --D.R.
NEXT: Zero: Angelo Mozilo