Sheila Bair, Hero

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair may have ruffled some feathers in the banking industry over issues like loan modifications and special assessments, but in other circles she has become something of a superhero.Last week the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Inc. gave Bair the Gale Cincotta Neighborhood Partnership Award for her efforts to prevent foreclosures.

And the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said it would present its annual Profile in Courage Award to both Bair and Brooksley Born, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in May.

The foundation, which is based in Boston, cited the two regulators' early warnings about the conditions that led to the financial meltdown. Bair "really understands the situation and the plight of real families in real neighborhoods on real blocks," said Bruce Gottschall, Neighborhood Housing Services' executive director.

Caroline Kennedy, the president of the foundation named after her father, said in a press release last week that Bair and Born "recognized that the financial security of all Americans was being put at risk."

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