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Governor Pataki Addresses the Banking Department Staff November 2, 2001

For the first time in the history of the state banking department a Governor of the State of New York came to talk to the Banking Department staff, a small staff by any agency standard, to talk about the work they did in those first hours. The Governor commended the Banking Department staff for being quiet heroes, and for just doing their jobs in a time of tragedy.

It is only fitting that closing remarks encompass the spirit of those committed to the financial services industry. What follows is a tribute to the Banking Department staff who remained dedicated to ensuring the stability of the nation's financial system during a national crisis.


Photo of Governor Pataki
Governor George E. Pataki                  view video

I wanted to come by this afternoon. I wanted to come by before this, but I haven't had a chance - to thank you personally for what you represent. Now, Elizabeth talked a little bit about what you've done. But really when I think about what you've done, I am very proud of you, and you should be very proud of yourselves.

Since September 11th, everyone is looking at the word 'hero' in a different way. People we took for granted like New York's firefighters, ambulance workers and police officers, are now held up nationally as heroes and rightfully so. But I think there are other quiet heroes as well - heroes whose names aren't going to be on the marquee at Madison Square Garden and who aren't going to be written up in the newspapers. You are those quiet heroes.

Elizabeth talked about how I've known of your professionalism and competence and of course that's true. We have the best Banking Department in the world. We have the oldest and the best and I've been proud of that. But you did two other things on September 11th and since that day that stand out beyond your professionalism and your competence.

You know what happened that day. I know from a distance what it was like that early morning, because I watched it on TV. But you were there. You watched it out the windows. You watched it from the base of 2 Rector Street. You watched it from the subways that you couldn't get out of. You watched it from the coffee shops that you had to run into where you couldn't breathe. You were right there at the heart and the rest of New York State and the country appreciate the magnitude of that catastrophe. You lived through it, and you still live through it everyday because 2 Rector looks right out at ground zero.

I know that, and I know another thing as well. I know that you never wavered in your commitment to your professional jobs. You never wavered in the fact that we were going to be back in 2 Rector Street -- and there was a time when a lot of people were saying we shouldn't have anybody downtown. You never wavered in your commitment to go back to 2 Rector Street.

Elizabeth talked a little bit about what you've done since that time and I can recall one time in particular. I remember we were sitting Friday after September 11th in the emergency command center talking about health problems and other concerns and banking concerns: like the fact that there was no cash in the ATM's. Like the fact that there was an inability to move money from one bank to another or to get liquidity into the system. You not only showed the courage of going back to 2 Rector, you showed the commitment to work night and day, to work extra hours and to work weekends, through your suffering and through your sorrow - to make sure that the best banking regulatory group in the world did its job under the most difficult circumstances in the world.

So, I wanted to come tell you, first of all, how proud of you we are. Second of all, that we are going to continue. We are doing, and will continue to do, everything we can to make sure that your environment and your work conditions are as safe as can be. We have our environmental commissioner here and our health commissioner here, and they'll answer any questions you might have. We have been monitoring the air constantly and doing everything we can to make sure that you are safe where you work.

The other thing I wanted to say is that we are in a war, a war against fear and against terror. We're going to win that war and we're not going to win that war because the President has been a strong leader globally, the Mayor has been a strong leader locally, and everyone has put aside partisan politics and pulled together the way that we have.

We're going to win that war because of you -- because of the quiet heroes who do their jobs under very difficult conditions and horrible circumstances, who are suffering not just the remembrance of the horror of that day, but losses of people like Neil Levin and others whom we loved so much. And yet you are doing your jobs, and doing them better than anybody else in the world.

So, I want to thank you. I want to salute you. I want to salute some of the quiet heroes who don't get written about but believe me, who are appreciated enormously by me, by the people of New York, and the people of America.

So thank you, God bless you. Continue doing what you're doing, and you will help us not only to make this City and State stronger but to make this country stronger as we defeat the evil that attacked us on September 11th. Thank you, God bless you.

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 Tribute to World Trade Center Victims | Department and Industry Response to 9/11 Attacks | 150th Anniversary Celebration | Employee Awards | State of the Financial Services Industry | Holocaust Claims Processing Office Accomplishments | Criminal Investigations Bureau Accomplishments | Enforcement Actions | Banking Development Districts | The Superintendent's Travels Throughout New York State | Predatory Lending | Governor Pataki's Address to the New York State Banking Department Staff | Banking Board Membership | Schedules | Office Locations


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