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Press Release
Governor Cuomo Announces Unanimous Senate Confirmation of Benjamin Lawsky As Superintendent of The Department of Financial Services

May 24, 2011

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Senate unanimously confirmed Benjamin M. Lawsky as the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services (DFS).

Mr. Lawsky is currently the Governor's Chief of Staff. He previously served as the Deputy Counselor and Special Assistant throughout the administration of then-Attorney General Cuomo.

Prior to that, Mr. Lawsky spent more than five years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted securities fraud, organized crime, and terrorism cases. Previous to that, Mr. Lawsky served as Chief Counsel to Senator Charles Schumer on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.

"There is no one better suited to take on the task of leading this new department than Ben Lawsky," Governor Cuomo said. "Ben's deep understanding of complex markets, evolving financial products, and consumer protection uniquely enables him to safeguard investors while maintaining a vibrant marketplace in New York. Ben has been devoted to public service for his entire career and I am glad that he will continue to serve New Yorkers in this capacity. I'd like to thank Majority Leader Skelos and Senators DeFrancisco, Griffo, Farley, Smith, Seward and Breslin for their careful consideration during the confirmation process."

Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services said, "It is an honor to be confirmed as the first Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services. New York's businesses and consumers deserve the leanest, most efficient, and most effective financial services regulator in the nation. The new DFS will promote healthy and vibrant banking and insurance industries while also protecting consumers and our markets. I thank Governor Cuomo for this opportunity, as well as Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Senators DeFrancisco, Griffo, Farley, Smith, Seward and Breslin for their thorough review."

Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "My Senate colleagues and I are pleased to confirm Benjamin Lawsky as the first Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services. I applaud the Governor for bringing us this nomination. Ben Lawsky's experience in both the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office here in New York will serve him well as he regulates the complex and ever-changing financial services industry."

Senator Joseph A. Griffo, Chair of the Senate Committee on Banks said, "This new agency will have important challenges moving forward as New York continues to host some of the largest financial institutions in the nation and in the world. The Governor has made an exceptional choice. I believe that Benjamin Lawsky's background and experience will serve New Yorkers well. I'm confident that the new Superintendent and the Department of Financial Services will work to keep the balance between allowing the industry to thrive, while still being responsive to the individual consumer."

Senator Hugh T. Farley, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Banks said, "I applaud the Governor's appointment of Ben Lawsky as the Superintendent of Financial Services. Mr. Lawsky has an impressive background, and I am confident that he is up to the challenge of implementing the merger of the Banking and Insurance Departments, while working to maintain New York's position as the financial capital of the world. As the previous Chairman, and long-time member, of the Senate Banks Committee, I am especially glad to hear of his commitment to preserve and promote the state banking charter."

Senator Malcolm A. Smith, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banks said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for making a fine selection for Superintendent of Financial Services. Ben Lawsky's experience at the Attorney General's Office and United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York has not only earned him a reputation as a corporate watchdog but has also made him a perfect candidate to head the new Department of Financial Services. Lawsky's tireless dedication to protecting New Yorkers from the corrupt practices that have plagued the banking and insurance industries coincides perfectly with the Governor's message of restoring accountability and trust to government. I look forward to working with the Superintendent and Governor Cuomo to usher in a new era of transparency, confidence and responsibility to the financial industry of New York."

Senator James L. Seward, Chair of the Senate Committee on Insurance said, "Ben Lawsky is uniquely qualified to take on the challenges that await him as head of the new state Department of Financial Services. I commend Governor Cuomo on the appointment and look forward to partnering with Superintendent Lawsky as he develops this new department with an eye toward maintaining and enhancing New York's standing as the financial services capital of the world."

Senator Neil D. Breslin, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Insurance said, "Governor Cuomo's appointment of Benjamin Lawsky as the first Superintendent of the newly created Department of Financial Services is a perfect choice. Mr. Lawsky brings a wealth of experience and credibility that will serve him well. I look forward to working with Mr. Lawsky to make sure that not only do consumers have the protections they so richly deserve but also to ensure that the insurance industry continues to thrive here in New York."

Michael J. Garcia, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said, "Ben has the right blend of experience and leadership qualities for a post of such importance to the oversight of the state's financial services industry. He is diligent and professional and he has earned the respect of colleagues at every stage of his career. I applaud Governor Cuomo's choice and believe that Ben will make a tremendous contribution to this key area of oversight."

Neil M. Barofsky, former Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) said, "Throughout his career in public service, Ben has distinguished himself as someone with keen judgment and the ability to see through issues in a strategic and thoughtful manner. In addition, he has a well-deserved reputation of being both tough and fair which make him especially suited for his new role. He has all the qualities necessary to successfully build and run the Department of Financial Services. I congratulate both the Governor and Ben on this confirmation."

Thomas E. Workman, President and CEO of the Life Insurance Council of New York, Inc. said, "I believe Governor Cuomo could not have made a better choice to lead this new consolidated department. Ben has the ability to understand quickly and thoroughly the complexities of the New York insurance laws and regulations, and their real world effect on both consumers and industry. In addition, he brings an evenhandedness with respect to enforcing the laws that is well suited for this important position. I congratulate Ben and the Governor, and look forward to working with them."

Governor Cuomo created the Department of Financial Services (DFS) by merging the New York State Banking Department and the New York State Department of Insurance as part of the 2011-12 Budget. The DFS is designed to better regulate modern financial services organizations. By combining the Banking and Insurance Departments into a unified financial regulator, the new Department of Financial Services will be a more efficient, modern, and comprehensive regulator of the financial sector.

New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@exec.ny.gov | 518.474.8418