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11:41 AM
Kathy Burger
Kathy Burger
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Barney Frank's Next Role -- Treasury Secretary?

Barney Frank, the Dodd-Frank co-author and advocate of tougher bank regulation, who announced he will not seek reelection to the House of Representatives in 2012, leaves a mixed legacy for the financial services industry -- and says he will not be "a lobbyist or historian" when he leaves Congress.

Barney Frank as Treasury Secretary? This spit-take inducing question was asked today by New Republic columnist Timothy Noah, reacting to the Massachusetts Democrat's announcement on Monday that he would not seek reelection to the House of Representatives in 2012. Noah argues that in addition to political savvy and financial services industry knowledge, Frank offers another attribute that is sorely lacking in current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: A sense of humor. "Can you even imagine how great it would be to have a Treasury secretary with a sense of humor?" Noah asks. "I'm pretty sure we've never had one."

I'm pretty sure that, whatever Frank decides to do for his next career, he will continue to infuriate, frustrate, alarm and even amuse the financial services industry. In a blog I posted yesterday for sibling brand Bank Systems & Technology, I noted that Frank has been both a polarizing and a transforming figure in Washington, and especially within financial services. What kind of legacy he ultimately will leave and his long-term impact on the industry remains to be seen. But it's likely that, at least for the near term, Frank will continue to exert his influence on financial institutions in some capacity.

Fan or foe, no one can deny that Barney Frank gives good sound bite. Here is video from an ABC report on Frank's press conference announcing his retirement from Congress:

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Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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