Good morning. I am pleased to welcome the four of you before the Senate Banking Committee. One of the most important responsibilities of the Committee is the examination and confirmation of the Administration's nominations that fall underneath our jurisdiction. Three of you are here today as nominees to serve on the Board of Directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Mr. Plamann has been nominated by the President to serve as a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Cooperative Bank. Both organizations play an important role in our economy.
The SIPC was chartered by Congress to secure and return the assets of investors in bankrupt or failing firms. While not designed to be a blanket insurance fund for investor fraud or losses, SIPC has a specific focus that is very meaningful - restoring investors with assets in the hands of bankrupt or otherwise financially troubled brokerage firms. Without SIPC, investors at these firms might never recover their securities or money or face lengthy delays while their assets are tied up in our judicial system. From its creation by Congress in 1970 through December 2001, SIPC advanced $513 million in order to make possible the recovery of $13.9 billion in assets for an estimated 622,000 investors.
The National Cooperative Bank was chartered by Congress to assist consumer and small business cooperatives. The NCB provides the resources necessary for cooperative endeavors to achieve growth and success. It serves its members through its lending and financing arrangements and by providing financial and other technical assistance. The NCB subsidiaries assist cooperatives and small businesses by providing organizational and technical assistance, banking services, advocacy, informational services, financial advice as well as information on capital sources. To date, NCB has provided more than $6 billion in financing - creating thousands of home ownership opportunities and providing other critical services to our nation's communities.
Both SIPC and the NCB provide an invaluable service to individuals, communities and the economy. As leaders at these two organizations, you will be expected to address the current issues facing SIPC and the NCB and to adjust to challenges which lay ahead. As future public servants, I commend your willingness to step forward to embrace this responsibility. I look forward to hearing the testimony of each of the nominees present here today.