New York is the primary international banking center of the world. The foreign banking community in New York includes the world's largest global banking enterprises. The Banking Department is the primary regulator of U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations, supervising more than 80% of the nationwide assets held by such entities. At year-end, the Banking Department supervised a total of 175 branches, agencies and representative offices of foreign banks from 46 countries, with aggregate total assets of $807 billion. The Banking Department also has oversight of 21 New York State-chartered subsidiary banks owned by foreign banking organizations with total assets of over $115 billion.
These entities, together with the domestic banks, provide for a healthy, highly competitive financial center, thereby enhancing the liquidity of both the local and national financial markets. These offices of foreign banks also strongly contribute to the State's economic vitality providing tens of thousands of jobs.
The Department is the only U.S. banking regulator to maintain oversees offices. The Asian District Office continues to focus on the safety and soundness of the Department's chartered/licensed banks in the Asia/Pacific Region, conducting examinations in all of the major financial centers in the Region. A close working relationship with local country banking supervisory authorities has significantly improved the Banking Department's understanding of the unique environment in which New York State-chartered/licensed banks operate in Asia. In 2002 the Region experienced mixed economic activity.
Although there have been pockets of economic strength, there continue to be problems in many of the Region's banking sectors. The District Office in Tokyo provides real time information on Asian Banking developments to the Banking Department's New York Headquarters. In this way the Asian District Office acts as an early warning system in the Asia/Pacific Region. This activity gives the Banking Department an important edge as the host country supervisor of many Asia/Pacific banks in New York. Similarly, the European District Office in London continued its efforts to develop and maintain relationships with the major European banking supervisory authorities. This facilitates the Department's supervision of overseas operations of the banks for which it has global consolidated, comprehensive supervisory responsibilities through exchanges of information and local on-site visits.
To improve regulatory effectiveness, the Department restructured supervisory staff in the Foreign Financial Services Division. Responsibilities for supervision of the numerous and diverse foreign banking organizations have been reorganized broadly along geographical jurisdictions. Deputy Superintendent Thomas P. Abballe has been assigned responsibility for supervision for foreign banking organizations from Asia, Latin America, Spain, Portugal, the Middle East, and Africa. Deputy Superintendent Michael J. Lesser was assigned supervisory responsibility for foreign banking organizations from Europe and Canada and for Article XII Investment Companies.