A Congresswoman of Proven Leverage

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., was a thorn in the banking industry's side long before her current fight to force leverage limits on big institutions. As a state senator, Speier wrote a landmark privacy law that forced banks to get customers' permission before selling personal information to third parties. Banks fought the legislation for years. When it was enacted in 2003, industry representatives predicted the law would end the world as we know it. (It didn't.)

Since coming to Washington, Speier has remained an outspoken bank critic. In 2009, she warned that the industry was fighting to gut a proposed consumer protection agency. But she has also been tough on the Obama administration for its foreclosure prevention plan.

The conventional wisdom is that her leverage provision will have a tough time making it into the final regulatory reform bill. But banks have counted out Speier before — and lived to regret it.

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