Bair Is Correct

Sheila Bair has already joined the ranks of Angela Merkel, but she also recently shared the stage with "Football 101," "2009 TV Farewells" and "Mmm … Bacon."

Those were all categories on the Nov. 25 broadcast of "Jeopardy!" and the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was a clue in the category: "Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women 2009." (Bair was No. 2 on this list, behind Merkel, Germany's chancellor.)

Mike Marmesh, a veterinarian from Miami, scored $1,000 for correctly naming Bair's agency in response to: "Sheila Bair, who protects your savings account as head of this government body, made the top 10" in the Forbes list.

Bair is far from alone among financial policymakers whose names have been mentioned on the legendary game show. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have each had three "Jeopardy!" references. The current secretary, Tim Geithner, has shown up twice, including in response to this question (answer, actually) on Oct. 9: "The non-stop crisis has made his job the toughest any Treasury Secretary has faced in generations."

But the regulator with the most appearances on "Jeopardy" is likely former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who has shown up as a clue or answer 17 times, including three Final Jeopardy rounds.

And, no, we didn't go blind watching re-runs. A fan-run Web site — http://www.j-archive.com — tracks the answers.

Standout Educators

In the same week that an FDIC survey said one in four families is underbanked, the agency also showcased efforts by nonprofit groups to advance financial education.

At a Washington event Thursday, the last of many the FDIC has held to mark last year's 75th anniversary, Bair honored six individuals and their organizations with the Chairman's Award in Financial Education.

The award is intended to recognize educational programs that, as the agency said, "highlight potentially replicable best practices."

The honored programs included a series of financial seminars for students at historically black colleges, a game in which at-risk high school students play roles as young adults working and paying bills and a program for seniors aimed at preventing financial abuse.

Bernanke Buffeted

The nomination of Bernanke to run the Fed for another four years is beginning to take on the characteristics of a combative Supreme Court nomination.

The Senate approved his nomination almost four years ago by a simple voice vote. Now Sen. Bernie Sanders has placed a hold on Bernanke's nomination, forcing Senate leaders to make sure they have enough votes to move forward.

As members of the Senate Banking Committee stepped out of Thursday's confirmation hearing, reporters rushed to ask how they would vote. Some lawmakers, including Sens. Richard Shelby, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Jim DeMint, would not commit to supporting Bernanke's nomination. Sen. Jim Bunning, a perennial Fed critic, left no doubt where he would come down.

"You are the definition of a moral hazard," the Kentucky Republican told Bernanke.

Outside groups are also having their say. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched a Web site, stopbailoutben.com, that encourages people to call their senators and press them to vote against Bernanke.

The hubbub over Bernanke's fate is proving helpful to some lawmakers. The progressive campaign said it raised $10,000 for Sanders in the day after he announced his hold.

Jumping Ship

Before any regulatory overhaul becomes official, Tim Ward, the Office of Thrift Supervision's top examiner, is already headed across town to start a new job with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Ward's move will take place Dec. 18. He will be succeeded as the deputy director for examinations, supervision and consumer protection by Tom Barnes, who is now an assistant deputy director.

A memo from acting acting Director John Bowman did not specify Ward's job at the OCC.

A former official with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Ward began his career at the OTS in 1998 to help coordinate information systems. He has also been its chief information officer and chief financial officer.

Ward's move comes at an uncertain time for regulators as Congress debates consolidating the OTS into the OCC or merging all of the regulators into a new single agency.

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