In late 2007—months in advance of many of her peers—Sheila Bair, now 56, accurately predicted that the mania for subprime loans would result in financial upheaval. A year later, she warned (again, accurately) that bailing out financial institutions would do little for struggling homeowners. Her thrifty take on life as the loan ranger:
The fall of 2008 was harrowing for many Americans—problems at banks, insurance and investment firms, not to mention daily triple-digit swings in the stock market—and the crisis really highlighted how important confidence is to our financial system. But confidence is also essential when it comes to speaking up about what you believe in. You can't let yourself be intimidated. You have to hold your ground.