WASHINGTON — Barbara A. Rehm, the former editor-in-chief turned columnist for American Banker, is leaving the paper to join Promontory Financial Group.

Rehm has played a critical role at the paper for more than two decades, covering the savings and loan crisis as a reporter before rising to Washington bureau chief and eventually leading American Banker during its coverage of the financial crisis.

"No one covering commercial banking has been better than Barb Rehm at cutting through the clamor and isolating essential truths," said David Longobardi, the chief content officer for SourceMedia and a former editor-in-chief of American Banker. "In the noisy world of bank regulation, her voice — like her laugh — stood out."

Rehm joins a long list of former regulators and top policymakers who have joined Promontory in recent years. In her new role, she will serve as a strategic advisor to Eugene Ludwig, Promontory's founder and chief executive and a former comptroller of the currency.

Rehm first joined the paper in 1987, covering the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as a reporter, where she earned praise for her work covering the savings and loan scandal. Later, as bureau chief and a senior editor, she helped earn American Banker a Jesse H. Neal Award for Business Journalism for the paper's coverage of deposit insurance reform.

She became editor-in-chief of the paper in 2008 just as the financial crisis was unfolding, stepping down shortly before enactment of the landmark Dodd-Frank Act in July 2010. Since then, she has served as editor-at-large for the paper, writing a weekly column that unflinchingly examined the major issues in banking policy. The column was recognized last year with an award by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. 

"Barb has  a unique grasp of the details of complex rules that make her reporting, editing and commentary a major opinion and policy driver," said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner with  Federal Financial Analytics.

During her tenure at the paper, Rehm has also mentored many journalists who went on to cover financial services at a host of other media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, Politico and National Journal. She has also been an outspoken advocate for women, serving as a champion for American Banker's annual Women in Banking event and a role model for other reporters.

"Covering banking isn't easy, especially as a female," said Cheyenne Hopkins, a former American Banker reporter who is now with Bloomberg. "The majority of our sources are men. Some like to talk down to women as if we can't understand the complicated issues, but Barb never let anyone diminish her intelligence or strength."

Rehm's final blog post for the paper appeared Thursday.

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