— “Let’s have some compassion, too. We all make mistakes.”
–FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, contending that the government should give homeowners breaks on troubled loans, so as to prevent more havoc from foreclosures. Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal ran a riveting front-page story, “FDIC Chief Raps Rescue for Helping Banks Over Homeowners.” The story cast Bair, who was already known as a powerful protector of consumers, as a gutsy critic of the government’s bailout plan. This morning, Bair emailed my colleague Carol Loomis to say that the WSJ story went too far. Carol shared Bair’s email with me. I emailed Bair and asked her if I could share it with you. She said I could. Here’s what Bair wrote this morning:
“Just letting my friends know that the WSJ headline last week about my “rapping” the rescue package was not consistent with the comments I had made during the interview…I am frustrated that we have not done more to help homeowners, but my remarks were not couched as criticism of anyone.” Bair provided this link to an NPR story, which she says more accurately presents her and her view that recovery requires compassion toward homeowners as well as toward the bankers who extended the toxic loans.
However much Bair is actually flexing her muscles around Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, she’s clearly a gutsy lady. And the little folks are lucky to have her fighting for them inside Washington’s corridors of power.