Bair honored with JFK Profiles in Courage Award
Sheila Bair (right), chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., today accepted a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in recognition of her early warnings about the subprime lending crisis and her subsequent criticism of the government's management of the financial crisis.
Caroline Kennedy presented the award to Bair at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library saying that Bair "stood up for average, taxpaying Americans and held her ground under intense criticism from political adversaries."
Bair, a former professor at the University of Massachusetts, touted the FDIC's success in restructuring mortgage loans for more than 13,000 customers of the failed IndyMac Bank during its conservatorship.
"We proved that systematic loan modifications could work, providing a template that other banks began to use and now serves as a cornerstone of the president's national loan modification program,'' Bair said. "We were just trying to do something that seemed like basic common sense."
The award is presented annually to public servants who have made "courageous decisions of conscience." Brooksley Born, former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and other women who worked with her for pushing for peace in their violence-torn country, were also honored.
(By Jenifer B. McKim, Globe staff. File photo of Bair: John Zich, Bloomberg News.)