Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm glad that we are beginning our Committee work in the 108th, in part, by re-igniting the debate over deposit insurance reform.
Let me begin my remarks by commending the leadership of Senators Johnson and Hagel. They have done excellent work, putting together a reform proposal. Their bill, the Safe and Fair Deposit Insurance Act, is a solid and reasoned approach. I was a proud co-sponsor of the bill in the 107th Congress and am a co-sponsor again of their bill in the 108th.
It was almost two years ago that then-FDIC Chair Donna Tanoue brought her case to the Congress that the time to address flaws in the deposit insurance system is now - while the industry is in good shape and the overwhelming majority of institutions remain healthy. I agreed with her then and I am committed to working with my colleagues to address the issues she raised.
While there are some issues about which there is disagreement, the need for reform is clear and I believe there is a broad consensus on almost all of the major components of the bill. And, I hope we will work together to resolve the outstanding differences people have regarding reform.
By working together in a bipartisan fashion, I believe that we can pass a solid bill - and soon - that is an improvement over the status quo, thus creating some new systemic efficiencies.
Last year, the House Financial Services Committee took up their version of deposit insurance reform, marked it up, and reported it out with overwhelming support. I hope that the Senate Banking Committee will take similar actions this year.
I, again, thank the Chairman for calling today's hearing. And, I welcome our witnesses before us. Their insights have been instrumental as we examine how best to proceed. I look forward to hearing their constructive testimony today.