The inaugural Regulatory Innovation Award was given to Sheila Bair, Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, on June 15, 2009, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.


To many, regulation and innovation may seem like unlikely bedfellows. . . . At Morrison & Foerster, we think the relationship between innovation and regulation is actually much more complex and much more interesting. Smart regulation and smart regulators who have the courage of their convictions are going to lead the way to new frameworks that promote change, preserve healthy competition and reward useful innovation.

It is therefore appropriate that this evening, we congratulate Sheila Bair, chair of the FDIC, and the first recipient of the Regulatory Innovation Award. Ms. Bair was sworn in as the 19th Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2006 and has faced unprecedented challenges in her role. Ms. Bair was one of the first public officials to recognize the potential dangers of sub-prime lending. In the early days of the financial crisis, Ms. Bair led the FDIC to consider alternatives to securitization, including covered bonds. In the darkest days of the crisis, the FDIC worked to restore the interbank lending markets through the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program. . . . Throughout, Ms. Bair also has kept the focus on individual borrowers and individual homeowners. The FDIC was the first entity to put forward a plan for broad based mortgage modifications. Not afraid to speak her mind, Ms. Bair has been a vocal participant in the national dialogue on financial regulatory reform.

Since its creation in 1933, the FDIC has been the embodiment of what we like to think of as enduring American values. . . . Sheila Bair has already demonstrated that she will be a fierce and effective guardian of these values. And that is why we at Morrison & Foerster are delighted to join the Burton Foundation in congratulating our honoree, Sheila Bair.

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