Former FHFA Director James Lockhart has to be one of the least-known major players in the recent collapse of the nation's housing market and financial system.
He was the guy charged with overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when the two were put into conservatorship in September of 2008.
In fact, he was the guy who put them into conservatorship because only he had the power.
At the time, Fannie and Freddie owned or guaranteed more than $5 trillion in U.S. mortgages as well as mortgage-backed securities, or half of the country's home loans. They were also one of the biggest issuers of debt in the world. Putting the two into conservatorship was not just a domestic trauma, it was a massive emotional blow to the world economy.
I've interviewed Mr. Lockhart on several occasions, both before and just after the takeover of the two mortgage giants.
I have always found him to be one of the most honest government regulators, in a sea of officials who are given many, many hours of media training before they're ever allowed to approach a camera.
The others are not dishonest, they're just trained to say as little as possible while still filling up air time.
Lockhart, however, often surprised me in what he was willing to say, calmly and clearly, and whom he was willing to criticize, even within his own ranks.