Eugene A. Ludwig will go down in history as one of the best comptrollers of the currency. Politicians have labeled him the "rogue regulator." They have accused him of usurping congressional prerogatives and even of trampling the Constitution.

Politicians have been debating financial modernization legislation for decades with little to show for it-burgeoning campaign coffers aside. Mr. Ludwig decided to do something about it before banks became irrelevant in the financial marketplace.

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