May 9, 2011 / 10:00 PM / 7 years ago

Washington Extra - Bair necessity

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - Sheila Bair is ready to abandon the FDIC ship. Who can blame her? She weathered five stormy years at the helm, begrudgingly backed bailouts for failing financial giants, talked tough on bankster pay and butted heads with fellow regulators.

Come July 8, she’ll be off to the calmer waters of academia or maybe a non-profit. She has street cred, but she won’t use it to cash in on Wall Street, she has said. That would be too uncomfortable.

Bair, through a not-so-secret lobbying campaign, won the FDIC big new powers in the Dodd-Frank law. And yet, she won’t be around to put in play reforms that critics say were custom-designed for an FDIC with Bair as the top cop.

Bair also abandons a Holy Trinity of tough women regulators, leaving behind Elizabeth Warren and Mary Schapiro to ward off the spirits that want to roll back regulation. FDIC Vice Chairman Martin Gruenberg is Bair’s likely successor and while he may not have the Bair flash, he does appear to have the backbone.

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