Hearing on Pending Nominations

Prepared Testimony of Mr. Richard Court Houseworth
Board of Directors
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

9:30 a.m., Thursday, May 11, 2000

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, United States Senate

It is an extreme honor to be nominated by the President as a Director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

I am grateful to Senator Lott for his recommendation.

I am very pleased to appear before you today as a Nominee for the position as Director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Having my two United States Senators from Arizona here to support me is most gratifying-the Senior Senator John McCain, and Senator Jon Kyl.

Kansas is my native state; however, my wife and I have resided in Arizona since 1955.

Banking has been a part of me nearly all of my life, because my father started The First National Bank of Harveyville, Kansas, in 1921. As a young boy I did the janitor work after school, and filed checks on Saturday morning. My salary was $12.00 per month.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Kansas, I began a full time job at the Lawrence National Bank. With only a few years experience, I returned to work for my father, because his health had failed.

When I was only twenty-six years of age, my father died, and the Board of Directors elected me President of the Bank. I soon realized, at that young age, I didn't know enough to be President. I suggested to my mother that we sell the bank, and she agreed.

My wife and I moved to Arizona and I continued my banking career. I joined a bank, which after several mergers and acquisitions became the Bank of America. After thirty-two years I availed myself of the early retirement program, and retired as Executive Vice President of a 5 billion dollar bank in 1988.

In September 1988, I was confirmed by the Banking Committee to be a Director of the ExportImport Bank of the United States, to serve for three years. Several of you were members of the Committee then.

In 1991, I was confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be the United States Alternate Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank. Senator Sarbanes was Chairman of the Committee which approved my nomination, and I thank you again.

In 1993, I was appointed to my current position as Superintendent of Banks, State of Arizona.

Serving as Chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors this year has increased my respect for state bank regulators and their dedication to the preservation of the dual banking system.

With my experience in the private sector of banking, some international exposure, and now as state banking regulator, I believe I am well qualified to be considered by this Committee and the United States Senate, to be confirmed as a Director at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Community involvement has always been a commitment for me. I have been President of the Phoenix Urban League, and President of Chambers of Commerce, including the first president of the Arizona State Chamber of Commerce.

My family has always been an important factor for me to consider. My wife, Laura, went back to school after our three children were pretty well grown, and obtained her law degree. Our children have made us happy with our three grandchildren.

Banks must maintain sound lending policies. Proper examination of banks is a major responsibility of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Early detection of problem banks can reduce the negative impact on the insurance fund. As a Director, I would encourage the professional staff to alert the Board of Directors to potential problems, at an early stage.

Safety and soundness of the banking industry are paramount responsibilities of the Board. I am fully committed to the preservation of the insurance funds.

I consider this nomination to be a great privilege. The position carriers with it a great responsibility. If I am confirmed, this would be a tremendous way to utilize my many years experience in commercial banking, international banking and as state banking regulator to serve in this federal appointment.

In my view, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is one of the pinnacles of banking.

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