Administrative Report to the Governor
Commissioner - Howard F. Pitkin
Department At A Glance:
Deputy Commissioner - Alan J. Cicchetti
Established - 1837
Statutory Authority - Titles 36a and 36b,
Connecticut General Statutes, and Related Laws
Central Office -
260 Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103-1800
Average number of full-time employees - 120
Recurring operating expenses, 2007-08 - $17,481,962
The mission of the Department of Banking is to protect users of financial services from unlawful or improper practices by requiring that regulated entities and individuals adhere to the law, assuring the safety and soundness of state chartered banks and credit unions, educating and communicating with the public and other stakeholders, and promoting cost-efficient and effective regulation.
The Department of Banking is responsible for the regulation and examination of financial institutions and various related entities chartered, licensed or registered by the state. The Banking Commissioner is charged with administering the banking and credit union laws of the state as well as the laws regarding securities, tender offers and business opportunities. The banking commissioner also administers the Truth-in-Lending Act and other consumer credit laws and a major portion of the law concerning rental security deposits.
Specific regulatory functions are assigned to divisions within the department.
The Consumer Credit Division is responsible for regulating the activities of first and secondary mortgage lenders, brokers, and originators; small loan companies; sales finance companies; debt adjusters; consumer collection agencies; money transmitters; issuers of money orders or travelers checks; and check cashing services. The Division is responsible for the licensing and examination of these entities and the enforcement of related Connecticut laws. The Division also administers Truth-in-Lending laws; retail installment sales financing laws; and a major portion of the law relating to rental security deposits.
The Financial Institutions Division is responsible for the supervision of state-chartered bank and trust companies, savings banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions. The division also licenses foreign banking organizations that establish and maintain representative offices, agency offices or branch offices in Connecticut, and supervises bank holding companies. It has responsibility for analyzing applications for new bank or credit union charters, acquisitions, mergers, branches, changes in corporate structure, and credit union field of membership expansions. In addition, the division licenses business and industrial development corporations and certain non-banking corporations that exercise fiduciary powers.
The Securities and Business Investments Division is responsible for the registration of securities and business opportunity offerings for sale in Connecticut; the registration of broker-dealers and investment advisers, along with their agents and branch offices; the examination of broker-dealer, investment adviser and branch office registrants; and enforcement of the state's securities, business opportunity and tender offer laws.
The department's customers include the general public, representatives of the public, regulated entities and consultants. The public at large, including depositors, borrowers, investors, landlords and tenants, and others who use the services of regulated financial entities, benefits broadly from agency activities. Agency services protect public funds in depository institutions, offer important investor and consumer protections, assist in dispute resolution and provide helpful public information.
Representatives of the public including the Governor and the General Assembly, other elected and appointed officials and federal, state and municipal agencies receive information, advice, proposed legislation, case referrals and other important services from the department.
Financial entities are subject to regulatory oversight. Consultants, including law firms, accounting firms, consumer advocacy groups, trade associations and others, receive information, advice, policies and guidelines from the department.
The Department of Banking is strongly committed to maintaining a standard of excellence in meeting its regulatory responsibility, while being responsive to Governor Rell’s desire to promote a business friendly climate in Connecticut.
In order to provide the public with convenient 24-hour, 7-day access to information on department programs, licensing activity and educational resources, the department maintains a Web site on the Internet at www.ct.gov/dob.
As a fundamental part of its mission, the department is committed to protecting Connecticut citizens in transactions with financial institutions, as directed by state law, and in assisting with consumer complaints and dispute resolution.
Consumers are encouraged to contact the department whenever they need assistance in dealing with financial institutions. Agency employees will promptly assist consumers with issues involving banks, credit unions, mortgage lending and other consumer credit matters, rental security deposits, and matters relating to securities and business opportunity investments.
The Banking Commissioner served as co-chairman of the Governor’s Sub-Prime Mortgage Task Force, created by Governor Rell to examine and make recommendations regarding the issue of sub-prime lending in Connecticut. Among its recommendations was the creation of a Foreclosure Assistance Hotline to give Connecticut residents advice and guidance regarding their mortgage problems. Established on August 24, 2007, the hotline had received 4,169 calls as of June 30, 2008.
During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, examiners in the department’s Government Relations and Consumer Affairs Division handled approximately 15,000 telephone inquiries and 3,072 written complaints from the public. As a result of their efforts, the department obtained $1,841,258 in adjustments and reimbursements on behalf of consumers during the period.
The public received restitution of approximately $116,885 relating to penalties imposed upon licensees by the Consumer Credit Division as part of the examination process. The Consumer Credit Division continued its focus on enforcement activities. During the period, the Division was involved in approximately 162 enforcement actions resulting in a variety of actions against licensees and penalties of $1,004,000.
Intervention by the Securities and Business Investments Division during the fiscal year resulted in restitution and rescission offers to the investing public totaling $5,230,888. The Division also imposed $1,939,900 in fines for violations of the state's securities and business opportunity laws.
A portion of the fines levied came about as a result of negotiated settlements with securities brokerage firms and others, including three firms that were fined $400,000 in the aggregate for failing to supervise an agent convicted of misappropriating client funds. The Division also focused its enforcement efforts on fraudulent promissory note sales, oil and gas scams and schemes to defraud senior citizens. The Division also provided assistance to state and federal prosecutors in two additional cases involving defendants accused of selling non-existent investments and converting the funds of Connecticut investors, respectively.
The agency's security deposit investigator received approximately 350 telephone inquiries per month; resolved 319 landlord tenant disputes in the fiscal year; and recovered $137,045 for Connecticut residents who had complained to the department that landlords had unjustly withheld their refundable rental security deposits.
As of the end of the fiscal year, there were two state-chartered domestic banks in various stages of organization: Harbor Bank & Trust (Fairfield) and The Bank of Fairfield (Fairfield). One bank applicant, Higher One Bank (New Haven) withdrew its application to form a denovo state chartered bank in May 2008. On March 6, 2008 Quinnipiac Bank and Trust (Hamden) opened for business as a state-chartered bank.
On September 30, 2005 the Banking Commissioner closed Circle Trust Company, a Connecticut state-chartered trust bank with operations in Connecticut and Vermont. The Banking Commissioner was appointed Receiver and continues to liquidate the company.
Activity continues within the Connecticut based International Banking community. The Royal Bank of Scotland continues with its plans for completing the construction of its new Connecticut based headquarters in Stamford, CT. On April 30, 2008 Fortis Bank, S.A./N.V. Brussels, Belgium closed its Stamford branch office. As of this date, there are six Foreign Banking Organizations (FBOs) operating either a branch or representative office in Connecticut.
The Banking Commissioner held the second Annual CEO Roundtables jointly with the Connecticut Bankers Association during the fourth quarter of 2007. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss various industry and regulatory issues, recommendations and concerns. Given the overwhelming success of these CEO Roundtables, the Banking Commissioner held similar CEO Roundtables with the federal and state chartered credit unions in Connecticut during the second quarter of 2008; these meetings were held jointly with the Credit Union League of Connecticut and the NCUA.
The Banking Commissioner issued a number of industry letters to the banks and credit unions CEOs. In March 2008, Bank CEOs received a letter providing guidance on Section 36a-260 of Connecticut General Statutes regarding the requirement for semi-annual assessment of banks’ loan review practices. In April 2008, the Banking Commissioner issued a letter to bank CEOs rescinding the Policy Statement regarding Disclosure of Indebtedness of Management. During April 2008, bank and credit union CEOs received industry letters sharing the findings of the annual Non-traditional Real Estate Lending Survey. Most recently, the Banking Commissioner issued an industry letter to banks and credit union CEOs regarding data security; specifically, he discussed the steps taken by the Connecticut Department of Banking in safeguarding sensitive customer data handled by the Connecticut Department of Banking staff.
The Financial Institutions Division continues to produce its quarterly “DeNovo Report” for the benefit of bank executives and boards of directors; industry representatives; and consultants. The report offers a comparative view of the financial performance of new banks in Connecticut. Additionally, the Department expanded the reporting structure to include the “Connecticut Banks Performance Report” highlighting financial performance on a semi-annual basis of institutions operating between 5 and 10 years.
During the fiscal year, the Commissioner, through the Securities Division, submitted a formal comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning federal proposals affecting securities registration and exemptions, including electronic filing of Form D which would greatly facilitate private offering filings at the federal and state levels.
Each year the department, with the coordination of the Government Relations and Consumer Affairs Division, conducts an active legislative program. During the 2008 legislative session, one department proposal was enacted into law, Public Act 08-119, An Act Concerning Bank and Credit Union Authority and Nondepository Licenses. In addition, the department worked closely with the Governor’s Office and the Banks Committee in seeking passage of Public Act 08-176, An Act Concerning Responsible Lending and Economic Security.
Public Act 08-119 allows the banking commissioner to, under certain circumstances, approve temporary offices or other facilities to provide banking and credit union services to the customers of certain state and foreign banks or credit unions affected by an emergency. The legislation also allows the commissioner to waive or suspend statutory or regulatory requirements for up to 90 days in order to further rapid restoration of services after an emergency if the laws might impede the recovery and restoration of financial services.
Public Act 176 specifically authorizes the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) to 1) continue the CT FAMILIES refinancing program and 2) implement mortgage refinancing and emergency mortgage assistance programs. It allows CHFA to develop and implement a program for it to purchase foreclosed Connecticut property and turn the property into supportive and affordable housing. The act requires WorkPlace, Inc., in conjunction with the other regional workforce development boards and the one-stop centers, to establish a mortgage crisis job training program. The act also requires the chief court administrator, by July 1, 2008, to establish a foreclosure mediation program in each judicial district. The program ends in 2010.
PA 176 establishes a number of requirements for mortgage loans (mainly for nonprime loans) and for mortgage professionals making those loans. The act makes a number of additional regulatory changes for the Department of Banking, including increasing bond requirements for lenders and brokers. It also combines first and second mortgage professionals and makes a number of changes to the National Mortgage Licensing requirements adopted under PA 07-156.
As a benefit to industry and the public, the Legal Division prepared compilations of the statutes and regulations within the department’s jurisdiction and certain other related laws. The compilations are continually revised to reflect new legislation or changes in regulations and are available for free download on the agency Web site.
The division also posted on the Web copies of administrative actions taken by the agency against various entities, as well as indices to advisory opinions issued by the Commissioner concerning bank, credit union, consumer credit, landlord/tenant and business opportunity matters.
As a means to keep industry apprised of new regulatory developments, the division published its quarterly Securities Bulletin. Listserv distribution lists and Web site e-alerts provided a way for industry members to receive information more quickly, and provided a significant cost saving to the agency as well.
The department emphasizes educational efforts to help the public understand financial services offered in the marketplace and recognize fraudulent investment offers. A weekly News Bulletin provides information on applications before the agency and intended changes in regulations, and other publications are produced as needed.
The Government Relations and Consumer Affairs Division continued its focus on educating the public through outreach. Agency employees conducted various talks and presentations throughout the state on issues including banking scams, identity theft and investor fraud and protection. The audiences varied greatly, and included seniors, rotary clubs, veterans and people with both physical and learning disabilities.
In cooperation with the Governor’s Office, the department was part of the Identity Theft Information Team which conducted a series of identity theft prevention seminars throughout the state, in the wake of a state employee’s stolen laptop.
In the spring of 2008, the department took an active part in a series of housing fairs organized by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority for homeowners concerned about foreclosure.
The Human Resources Office continues in its efforts to employ the most qualified, diverse and talented individuals to work for the State of Connecticut Department of Banking. Employees are offered and encouraged to take advantage of the numerous training and educational opportunities available. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunity on the basis of merit; to assuring nondiscrimination; and to implementing affirmative action and contract compliance programs, as required by law. The department's affirmative action plan, filed with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, reflects the agency's commitment to achieving workforce balance and fairness in all terms and conditions of employment.
In order to meet the challenges associated with fulfilling its mission to protect the public, the department found it necessary to spend nearly 95% of its appropriated budget during the fiscal year. During the year, internal controls pertaining to revenue and expenditure accounting were strengthened; while the department’s financial reporting capabilities were expanded.
The Government Relations and Consumer Affairs Division continued to promote the agency’s focus on educational outreach and increase the visibility of our agency as a source of information to consumers and investors. A mass mailing to Connecticut libraries served as an opportunity to demonstrate the valuable resources our agency has to offer consumers in Connecticut, and resulted in various requests for speakers.
The department continued to develop a strong working relationship with AARP-Connecticut. On June 24, 2008 the Department of Banking and AARP-Connecticut co-hosted a free “Safe Investing Seminar” at the North End Senior Center in Hartford. This event was attended by approximately 50 people who learned how to protect themselves from securities fraud and avoid identity theft.
The Consumer Credit Division’s licensing unit continued to work closely with the Department of Information Technology in developing a new browser-based licensing database system. In a related matter, legislation was passed which will enable the Consumer Credit Division to participate in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System.
The Division continued to develop and implement a comprehensive examination procedure for its money transmitter and check casher licensees resulting in increased communication, oversight and regulatory awareness. The mortgage examination area is utilizing the newly developed safety and soundness exam protocol module in reviewing the licensee’s financial stability, and is utilizing a CORE information request and review in the examination process. The recently made changes in the examination process are providing greater protection to Connecticut consumers.
The Consumer Credit Division continued to increase its staffing levels, resulting in additional capacity to conduct examinations of licensees. The increased staffing has also improved the application process within the licensing area.
The division’s examination unit continued to work closely with the Financial Institutions Division by providing Truth-in-Lending Act compliance training to its examiners for use in the regulation of state chartered institutions.
On February 13, 2008, the Banking Commissioner had the privilege of testifying before the House Financial Services Committee in Washington, DC on a hearing about the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The Banking Commissioner provided a state regulators perspective, and as one of only two states requiring CRA for credit unions, he provided insight into Connecticut’s CRA program for both banks and credit unions.
The Financial Institutions Division remains committed to continuing its communication with industry representatives and will continue to produce various Industry Letters and sponsor meetings with CEOs, CPAs, etc. to discuss relevant industry and regulatory issues. We continue to solicit feedback from every bank and credit union examined by the division as they are provided a post-examination survey that are privately returned to the Commissioner. Institutions are given the opportunity via the survey to comment on staff performance, examination efficiency and examination time demands in an effort to improve future examinations.
The Financial Institutions Division staff are active members of both the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS). In February 2008, the Connecticut Department of Banking successful received its fifth consecutive certificate of accreditation from CSBS. This certification confirms that the department maintains the highest standards and practices in state banking supervision.
The Business Office continued to successfully utilize the state’s new automated financial management system, CORE-CT. Indicative of this, the Business Office made greater use of enhancements related to the asset management module. The enhancements improved the department’s ability to survey and correctly report financial information pertaining to capital equipment acquisitions, transfers and retirements. The new module has also served to enhance the department’s ability to report financial information to other state agencies.
The Securities and Business Investments Division is assisted by a Securities Advisory Council, comprised of industry representatives, academics and members of the bar, all of whom serve without compensation, that offers the Commissioner and staff insight on new regulatory initiatives.
On October 25, 2007, the department held its 19th annual Securities Forum in Cromwell, Connecticut. Presentations by department speakers, Securities Advisory Council members and others kept securities industry members abreast of critical regulatory and compliance developments. Nearly 300 attendees from the securities industry and the private bar attended the event which featured four panel presentations and an opening general session on current regulatory developments. Karl Krapek, former president and Chief Operating Officer of United Technologies Corporation, delivered the luncheon keynote address.
Ralph Lambiase, director of the Securities and Business Investments Division, continued his active participation in the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc. (NASAA). Organized in 1919 and dedicated to investor protection, NASAA is a voluntary association whose membership consists of 67 state, provincial and territorial securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. During 2007-08, Mr. Lambiase served on NASAA’s Broker-dealer Section Committee and Continuing Education Project Group.
During 2007 and 2008, the Securities and Business Investments Division continued to participate in quarterly meetings conducted by the Connecticut Corporate Fraud Working Group, a body comprised of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, other federal law enforcement agencies, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Insurance to discuss and coordinate current and future enforcement cases of interest to each agency.
In an effort to address regulatory issues confronting the mortgage lending industry, the department solicited voluntary intra-agency transfers to the agency’s Consumer Credit Division to assist in the examination and enforcement of mortgage lenders and brokers. One manager and two examiners were transferred from the Securities Division to the Consumer Credit Division, and one principal examiner, two associate examiners and one examiner were transferred from the Financial Institutions Division.
Since 1992, state-chartered banks have submitted Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) information to their primary federal regulator, usually the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). That agency examines banks in accordance with prescribed regulatory timeframes once every two years for compliance with HMDA and other regulations. The Department of Banking receives and reviews copies of all of these confidential compliance examination reports. Based on the department's review of recent community reinvestment act (CRA) and compliance examination summaries during 2007, no evidence of discriminatory practices by state-chartered institutions was disclosed.
As of July 1, 2008, six banks headquartered in Connecticut operated 69 branches or limited branches that were located outside of Connecticut. Correspondingly, 23 banks chartered or headquartered out of state operated 489 branches or limited branches located within Connecticut. In addition, six foreign banks operated state agencies, branches or representative offices in Connecticut.
Bank Mergers and Acquisitions for Fiscal Year 2007-2008
On August 21, 2007, pursuant to Section 36a-412(a)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended by Public Act 07-14, the Commissioner approved the mergers of Citizens Bank of Connecticut with and into Citizens Bank, National Association, a national banking association with its main office located in Albany, New York, and of RBS National Bank, a national banking association with its principal office located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with and into Citizens Bank, National Association.
On October 24, 2007, pursuant to Section 36a-185 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner issued a notice of intent not to disapprove the acquisition by Christopher J. Lavin of more than 10 percent but less than 25 percent of the voting securities of The Wilton Bank.
On October 24, 2007, pursuant to Section 36a-185 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner issued a notice of intent not to disapprove the acquisition by Lauren E. Ruttkamp of more than 10 percent but less than 25 percent of the voting securities of The Wilton Bank.
On February 29, 2008, pursuant to Section 36a-412(a)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner approved the merger of Superior Savings of New England, National Association with and into Capital One, National Association, the resultant bank to be Capital Bank, National Association.