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Sheila Bair named president of private Maryland college

Sheila Bair named president of private Maryland college

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CHESTERTOWN, Md. (AP) — Sheila Bair, who led the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. during the financial crisis, has been named president of Maryland's Washington College, a private liberal arts school.

Bair will be the first female president of the liberal arts college, founded in 1782, Washington College announced Wednesday. She will take over on Aug. 1.

Bair was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006 as FDIC chairwoman, becoming one of the key regulators shaping the government's response to the crisis that struck in September 2008.

She was among the first officials to raise concerns about the explosion of high-risk lending to borrowers with bad credit. She spoke up for consumers, small banks and homeowners facing foreclosure during the crisis, when most other regulators focused mostly on helping big banks and Wall Street firms.

Bair became an advocate for government intervention to help troubled homeowners, though her ideas never caught on with the Bush administration.

The FDIC, created during the Great Depression to ensure bank deposits, monitors and examines the financial condition of U.S. banks. It closed more than 400 failed banks, mostly small ones, during the five years that followed the onset of the crisis, costing the insurance fund — financed by insured banks — tens of billions of dollars.

Bair wrote a book about her five years at the FDIC titled "Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself," which became a New York Times bestseller in September 2012. She delved into her experiences during the meltdown and made recommendations for the future.

Bair also published a young adult novel, "The Bullies of Wall Street," a fictional account of the crisis. She has also written three books for children with lessons in financial literacy.

After leaving the government in July 2011, Bair was a senior adviser to the Pew Charitable Trusts and chair of the Systemic Risk Council, a group of former government officials and financial experts.

Bair earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy at the University of Kansas in 1974 and a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1978.

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