"SECURE OUR SAVINGS"
The catastrophic depression which brought this nation to its knees after 1929 left its impact upon the financial and banking world of the Empire State, which controlled one fourth of the country's bank deposits. 1 Too many financial and banking executives were unable to cope with this crisis, including, at times, the Governor himself. New York State banking laws were found wanting, and the director of the State Banking Department complicated matters by his dishonesty and corruptness.
Before Roosevelt had taken office the State's Banking Superintendent was directing subordinates to overlook dubious activities of at least one financial institution in New York City. This eventually resulted in despair and hardship for thousands, disquieting days for the Chief Executive, sleepless nights for the Lieutenant Governor, and increasing demands for fundamental reform of New York's banking regulatory system.
Frank H. Warder had. been appointed Superintendent of Banks by Governor Smith in 1926. This was the final of a series of political appointments given him with the backing of the New York County Democratic organization. Warder had had no experience in the financial world prior to his initial affiliation with the Department in 1920.
As Banking Superintendent, Warder and his family received numerous gifts which included rent decreases, a car, payment of hotel and travel bills, and ten shares of stock in the Harlem Bank of Commerce. The disburser of these gifts, and the presi-