Amidst the crisis, Governor Pataki made his priorities clear-the
rescue efforts first, the financial system second. The National
Guard, State Police and NYPD were made available to any firm that
needed access to restricted areas. The Lincoln Tunnel was opened
to the National Guard who escorted armored cars to flood the city
with cash, enabling bank branches and ATM machines to remain operational.
The industry responded by remaining open when and where they could.
The financial system did not falter. The joint effort with the Federal
Reserve, the OTS and the OCC was far more successful than anyone
could have anticipated.
What was accomplished that day is truly remarkable- a crisis of
consumer confidence was averted.
The same people who experienced the traumatic events of September
11th worked selflessly to ensure that the banking system survived
and that New Yorkers did not experience a financial crisis. The
thousands of financial services employees proved once again their
strong resolve and commitment to serve the public. Only one day
after the worst attack to hit the United States, the majority of
banks in New York were open for business.
Financial institutions waived ATM fees and late fee charges. They
were lenient with mortgage payments and helped customers who needed
access to bank accounts of loved ones who perished and for whom
they did not have death certificates or bank account information.
In addition, banks in New York teamed up with banks throughout
the country and raised tens of millions of dollars towards the relief
effort and they made it easy for their customers to contribute to
the World Trade Center Relief Fund or the Twin Towers Fund.
"When the attack hit just
two blocks from 2 Rector St., the Department's Information
Technology staff got the Banking Department up and running at
three separate locations within days. On top of this insurmountable
job, they also made sure that systems were operational at 2 Rector
St.- in less than one month. A staff responsible for one location
somehow managed to service four at the same time for the rest
"They worked tirelessly,
literally going without sleep many nights, and working every weekend,
to make sure that we would have the resources we needed to do
our work. Our Technology staff, led by Connie Van Decker, deserves
our deepest gratitude for enabling us to do our jobs under the
worst of circumstances."