Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for scheduling this Hearing today, as I know your time is limited in the remaining days of this Session. Chairman Sarbanes, Senator Gramm, members of the Committee, I'm honored by the President's nomination to be the Vice Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and I am privileged to be sitting in this spot this afternoon. I also appreciate the support which FDIC Chairman Don Powell has given my nomination.
In the almost two years I have served as a member of the FDIC Board we have witnessed significant change in the economy and banking issues. In fact, Mr. Chairman, you may recall that I was about to testify at this very table on September 11 when the events of that day stopped the Hearing and triggered challenges and changes to our country's financial system that no one could have foreseen.
My nearly 25 years of experience as a community banker before I came to Washington to work with my good friend, former Senator Connie Mack for nearly 12 years, has allowed me to bring a perspective to the Board's deliberations that recognizes the vital role that banks and their customers play in the economic success of their communities. Before my life in Washington, I was active for many years in a variety of community service organizations, and the affect of all of these private, non-profit and public service experiences causes me to evaluate issues which come before the Board in a manner which balances the interests of banks, consumers, the deposit insurance funds and the nation's economy.
Under the leadership of Chairman Don Powell during the past year, the FDIC has been, and is, at the forefront of many of the issues facing the financial industry today. We have brought together leading thinkers on such key issues as corporate transparency, financial institution disclosure, and risk management, and, of course, our work on Deposit Insurance Reform. We have launched a major financial literacy effort called Money Smart with the stated goal of establishing partnerships with 1,000 organizations and institutions, in all 50 states, to distribute 100,000 copies of Money Smart in three languages and expose one million consumers to our financial education program over the next five years.
We're also engaged in a major effort to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and to tap the tremendous potential of technology to streamline bank supervision -- while not sacrificing our primary goal of ensuring the safety and soundness and consumer compliance of the banking system. These are just a few of the many initiatives and activities underway at the FDIC today.
While the FDIC has been aggressively moving forward on these developing issues, we've not neglected our primary mission of protecting depositors in the event of bank failures. In fact, I believe that the lessons I learned in one of those failures provide me with a unique credential to serve as Vice Chairman of the FDIC.
Following the resignation of former Chairman Donna Tanoue in July 2001, I was serving as the Acting Chairman of the FDIC when Superior Bank failed on July 27, 2001. It was not just the size of this failure -- more than $2 billion in assets - that was instructive. As this Committee knows from its oversight, this failure raised a number of issues ranging from subprime lending, to residuals and accounting opinions, to regulator cooperation and access, to management liability, that challenged the leadership and staff of the FDIC to modify established methods of handling bank failures and to create some innovative new approaches. This experience along with other experiences gained during the past nearly 2 years I've served on the Board, combined with my duties Chairing of all of the standing committees of the FDIC Board help, I believe, to enable me to serve effectively as Vice Chairman of the FDIC.
Mr. Chairman, the FDIC occupies a unique position in the American government. We are keenly aware of the importance of our mission of maintaining confidence and trust of the American people in the nation's financial system. It is an organization with an outstanding, highly capable, professional staff. I look forward to my continued affiliation with both its mission and its people. With all of its successes, I also believe that there is still an amazing untapped potential at the FDIC that is just surfacing and will help shape the contours of the financial system for years to come. I am honored the President has nominated me to play an important role in that future, and, again, I wish to thank you for holding this Hearing. I'll be happy to address any questions you many have.
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