NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In news that would make anyone who follows finance do a double-take, Barney Frank is now on the board of a bank. And he might not have made it there without the unintentional help of Pope John Paul II more than 30 years ago.
The former U.S. House member and co-author of a sweeping financial reform bill that bears his name, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, was elected Wednesday to the board of New York-based Signature Bank (SBNY). Frank previously represented Massachusetts' 4th Congressional district for 32 years, serving from 2007 to 2011 as Financial Services Committee chair, a role in which he helped craft a temporary $550 billion rescue plan during the financial crisis.
Frank will be filling a board seat previously held by Alfred B. DelBello, a former New York lieutenant governor, who died in May. He attended his first board meeting on Wednesday and looks forward to being on the other side of the table, where he can see his legislation in action.
"It gives me a chance to repudiate some of the caricatures that if you're a liberal and believe that credit-default swaps ought to be regulated that that somehow makes you an enemy of banking," Frank said in an interview on Thursday. "I have always thought that the intermediary role banks play is an essential one when done right, and I'm glad to have a chance to work with an institution that does that."