Last month's approval of a purer capital measure for the biggest banks was not only a major step in regulators' response to the crisis, but it also shed light on the clout of two policymakers with key roles in advancing the regulation, neither of whom heads one of the agencies that enacted it.

As members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s board, Thomas Hoenig and Jeremiah Norton must largely let Chairman Martin Gruenberg run the FDIC's agenda. But as was the case with past FDIC directors, both Hoenig, the agency's vice chairman, and Norton have still found ways to influence policy.

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