Sheila C. Bair

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Sheila C. Bair
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Occupation Senior Adviser
Employer Pew Charitable Trusts

Sheila C. Bair is senior adviser to the Pew Charitable Trusts.[1] She is a former CFTC commissioner and was also previously chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). She left that position in July of 2011.[2]

She also heads the Systemic Risk Council, a private sector, volunteer group set up to monitor and encourage regulatory reform of U.S. capital markets focused on systemic risk. [3] [4]

As FDIC chairwoman, Bair agreed to increase deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000 when the nation’s banking system nearly froze. She also released details of a $24.4-billion program aimed at preventing 1.5 million foreclosures - a plan for which Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson told reporters he would not pay.

Bair was a member of the board of Banco Santander for a year and a half, but resigned in July 2015. Some had criticized that position as hypocritical because of her strong criticism of the actions of banks that led to the financial crisis of 2008. Santander was the first foreign bank to fail the Dodd-Frank-mandated bank stress tests for the second consecutive time.

Bair was named to The Wall Street Journal magazine Smart Money's (November 2006) “Power 30” list – the magazine's lineup of the 30 most influential people in investing.[5]Also in 2008, Forbes ranked her as the second most powerful woman in the world behind German chancellor Angela Merkel.[6]

In 2009, Bair was inducted into the Futures Industry Association's Futures Hall of Fame, which was established in 2005 to commemorate outstanding contributions to the global futures and options community.[7]

In September 2012, Bair’s book about the financial crisis, "Bull By the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street From Wall Street and Wall Street From Itself" was released. The book criticizes the bankers she blamed for the financial crisis as well as her fellow regulators, including Timothy Geithner, for their response to the problems.[8]


A Kansas native, Bair served as deputy counsel to former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) from 1981 to 1988. She then was appointed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where she served from 1991 to 1995, including a stint as acting chairwoman.

She was senior vice president for government relations for the New York Stock Exchange before joining the Treasury Department. After four years as a professor of financial regulatory policy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she was chosen to head the FDIC in 2006.

Among the honors she has received are: Distinguished Achievement Award, Association of Education Publishers (2005); Personal Service Feature of the Year, and Author of the Month Awards, Highlights Magazine for Children (2002, 2003 and 2004); and The Treasury Medal (2002).

Her first book – Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock, a publication for children – was published in 2006.[9]

Bair has served as a member of several professional and nonprofit organizations, including the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association, Women in Housing and Finance, Center for Responsible Lending, NASD Ahead-of-the-Curve Advisory Committee, Massachusetts Savings Makes Cents, American Bar Association, Exchequer Club, and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.[10]


Bair served as the keynote speaker for the American Banker's 2008 Banker of the Year Awards in Dec. of 2008.[11]

In 2009, Bair, who pushed lenders to prevent foreclosures, and Brooksley Born, who sought to rein in derivatives, won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for “sounding early warnings” on the financial crisis.[12]

In 2010, it was announced that regulators were looking into banks' policies and procedures regarding improper housing foreclosures and that fraud allegations were being investigated. Bair told the Federal Reserve and the FDIC that foreclosures had to continue to allow the market to bottom out and that litigation would be damaging. [13]


Bair received a bachelor's degree from Kansas University and a J.D. from Kansas University School of Law.


Video: Conversation With Sheila Bair, Chairman Of The FDIC On Charlie Rose