Top 10 Policymakers to Watch in 2013

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#10 – Mary Miller, Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance #10 – Mary Miller, Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance

Treasury Undersecretary Mary Miller has been one of the administration's most visible spokespeople on financial services policy. Her name has been floated as a potential chief for the Securities and Exchange Commission, although she reportedly is not interested in the position. Treasury's role coordinating the Financial Stability Oversight Council puts Miller front and center in the council's ongoing efforts to monitor the money market mutual fund industry and designate nonbank firms as systemically risk.

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#9 – The successor to Raj Date, deputy director of CFPB #9 – The successor to Raj Date, deputy director of CFPB

The pending departure of Raj Date, the No. 2 at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, shocked observers who saw him as the natural successor to the agency's director, Richard Cordray. His exit, which is expected by the end of the month, has sparked fevered speculation about who might succeed him. Why? With Cordray's recess appointment up at the end of the year, whoever is picked as deputy director will be the new agency chief by default unless Senate GOP lawmakers suddenly drop their demands to enact structural reforms before confirming any director.

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#8 – Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee #8 – Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee

Many observers are speculating that Sen. Tim Johnson, who will be up for reelection in 2014, may opt not to run again for the Senate. That leaves the question of what he would like to accomplish over the next two years at the helm of the Banking Committee. An approaching retirement has a way of motivating lawmakers — just ask former Sen. Chris Dodd — to accomplish big goals. Although he has shown little appetite to take it on, Johnson has an opportunity to craft legislation to reform the housing finance system. While such a goal would be tricky to accomplish, particularly with a Republican-controlled House, Johnson's legacy could well be reform of the government-sponsored enterprises.

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#7 – Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig #7 – Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig

An outspoken proponent of breaking up the big banks, Hoenig is a wild card among regulators. He has already publicly called on regulators to scrap Basel III even as the banking agencies struggle to finalize it, and appears willing to weigh in on other high-profile topics. If banks find themselves in hot water again in 2013, look for Hoenig to continue to press his argument that banks should spin off their riskiest activities.

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#6 – Mark Carney, Canadian central bank governor #6 – Mark Carney, Canadian central bank governor

Speaking of reformers, Mark Carney, the Canadian central bank governor and chairman of the Financial Stability Board, is set to become even more influential when he becomes head of the Bank of England. Starting this year, the Bank of England now has regulatory powers over British banks, including the ability to set capital requirements. Look for him to increase his presence on the international stage, including pressuring U.S. regulators to finalize their version of Basel III.

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#5 – Sen. Mike Crapo, lead Republican on Senate Banking Committee #5 – Sen. Mike Crapo, lead Republican on Senate Banking Committee

Due to term limits, Sen. Richard Shelby will give up his position as ranking member of the Banking Committee in favor of Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho. How Crapo will guide his GOP colleagues is unclear, but most observers expect a less combative approach than Shelby. That could clear the way for a bipartisan deal on GSEs, among other moves.

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#4 – Rep. Maxine Waters, lead Democrat on House Financial Services Committee #4 – Rep. Maxine Waters, lead Democrat on House Financial Services Committee

Although banks liked to complain about Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., most Washington insiders knew him as a dealmaker who could understand the banking industry’s point of view, even if he didn’t always agree with it. But that’s not how they feel about Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who will succeed Frank as ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee. Many questions remain, including whether she can effectively work with Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the conservative chairman of the panel, and if she can temper some of her more liberal views to work cooperatively with banks.

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#3 – Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau #3 – Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

It was a year ago that President Obama made a controversial recess appointment to install Richard Cordray to head the CFPB. Since that time, Cordray has moved quickly and quietly to build out the agency, including ramping up its enforcement of lenders and supervision of nonbanks. But with only a year left in his tenure — barring an unexpected Senate confirmation of Cordray for the job — it’s unclear if Cordray will move even more aggressively in 2013. One potential factor is whether he plans to run for governor of Ohio, a move that could push Cordray to make an even bigger splash in his current post.

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#2 – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. #2 – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Banks threw thousands of dollars, to no avail, at Sen. Scott Brown in the hopes that he would win reelection to the Senate and prevent CFPB founder Elizabeth Warren from taking a seat. But it remains to be seen how Warren will behave as a member of the Banking Committee. She may emerge as a champion of community banks — ironic, given their ongoing opposition to the agency she created. But she may also continue her withering criticism of the financial industry and even Obama administration officials. In previous roles, Warren has proved to be as independent as they come, making her one of the most fascinating policymakers to watch this year.

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#1 – Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee #1 – Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee

Rep. Jeb Hensarling has said little about his plans since it became clear he would chair the Financial Services panel. The ultraconservative and protégé of former Sen. Phil Gramm has already staked out positions on GSE reform, calling for full privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But it remains to be seen if he will moderate any of his views in order to build consensus on the panel — and increase his chances of enacting legislation.

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As Washington continues the perpetual debate over how to regulate the industry post-crisis, these leaders will likely set the tone.

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