It is also a great pleasure to be with you under such dramatically different circumstances than when we last gathered together. Just two years ago, turbulence in the financial markets around the world had affected, in one way or another, the banking systems of virtually every nation, and bank supervisors were struggling to preserve confidence and stability. Today, of course, the global financial situation is much more stable and the outlook is very favorable.
In the United States, we continue to enjoy the longest economic expansion in our nation’s history, and, following passage of financial modernization legislation, banks and other financial institutions now enjoy unprecedented strategic opportunities.
In Europe, following monetary union in January of 1999, the banking industry, along with other corporate sectors, is becoming more efficient and competitive as economic and political reforms have sharpened the focus on shareholder value.
In Asia, and in many emerging market economies, meaningful headway has been made toward recapitalizing banking systems, ridding banks’ balance sheets of problem assets, and improving supervisory and regulatory frameworks. As a result, economies are growing again, equity markets have rebounded, and foreign capital has begun to return. What a difference two years of hard work can make.
When I last addressed this conference in October of 1998, I said that bank supervisors have a special role in maintaining financial stability, and that our special role has two components: facilitating the resolution of problems when they occur, and taking the necessary steps to lower... [continues]
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