This year, the Banking Department hosted a Banking Symposium highlighting the Department's position in history as the oldest banking regulator in the United States. The Superintendent addressed the entire Banking Department staff and excerpts from her remarks follow:
"We triumphantly celebrate 150 years of our history today.
The new century and the new millennium not only invite historical
reflection on what we have learned, but also prompt speculation
concerning what may be a new course for our future.
"Consider for a moment what we have accomplished over the
last 150 years as a nation and as a state. In 1851, the year the
Banking Department was created, our nation would soon experience
a devastating Civil War, complications with creating monetary policy
and a central banking system, a world- wide economic depression,
and the evolution of a political landscape that eventually led to
America being the leader of the free world and New York being the
financial capital of the world.
"Despite the terrorist attacks, America today is still the leader
of the free world and New York is still the financial capital of
Over 150 years of banking regulation is evident by the sheer size of the role the Department plays in the global economy. In 2001, the aggregate assets of both foreign and domestic financial institutions that New York State supervised totaled nearly $2 trillion.
The Banking Department is the only United States banking regulator to maintain oversees offices. Maintaining the Department's London and Tokyo operations is invaluable and has broadened the Department's understanding of the global markets immensely.
The Banking Department is also the only regulatory agency of its kind that seeks to help victims of the Holocaust obtain financial restitution through the work of staff members in the Holocaust Claims Processing Office. The talents of the claims specialists have helped people all over the world by acting as an advocate and central point of contact for survivors and their heirs seeking to resolve claims.
One hundred and fifty years ago many people were hampered by social barriers, economic hardships, and discrimination. In 2001, the Department saw many people break through a variety of barriers to become economically independent, financially astute, and able and willing to venture into new financial arenas.