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Barney Frank, former Chairman of US House Financial Services Committee

Tuesday 18 January 2011 - by Nicola York

Known for his quick-wit, the Democrat heavyweight was once described as one of the most powerful members of Congress - a reputation sealed in 2010 by his role as the lead legislator on the Dodd-Frank Bill. He comes fourth in the GFS Power 50.

The former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee can lay claim to kicking off the biggest overhaul of financial regulation in the US since the Great Depression.

Succeeded in January by long-time sparring partner Spencer Bachus, Frank becomes ranking member on the committee safe in the knowledge that Dodd-Frank will have a lasting impact on all areas of the US financial system for years to come.

The highest-ranking politician on the GFS Power 50 list for 2010, he called for stricter regulations for financial institutions receiving bailout funds and pushed banks to minimise job losses and commit to lending to low-income earners.

Not afraid to speak his mind, he blasted the banks for acting "stupid" after it emerged several of those who had received bailout funds had lavished money on corporate away-days. He told executives straight that "people really hate you" and asked them to stop acting in a way that would cast more negativity on them.

He has also called for bank bonuses to be capped saying it is unnecessary for bank chiefs to get millions of dollars in bonuses after receiving multi-million dollar bailouts.

Frank became chairman of the FS Committee in 2007 and proved himself by leading the charge to pass the contentious $700bn bailout plan, managing to convince even the reluctant republicans to support the Senate version of the bill, after it had failed in the House.

He was a fierce critic of President Bush and criticised the Bush tax cuts saying the country couldn't afford it.

Born in New Jersey, Frank was elected to the US house in 1980. Once voted most eloquent member of the House by Capitol Hill staffers, Frank is known for being a civil rights campaigner and was one of the first US politicians to come out as gay.

Learn more about the GFS Power 50, a countdown of the most influential people in worldwide financial regulation in 2010.

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