The Department of Banking News Bulletin
Bulletin # 3075 - Week Ending January 27, 2023
This bulletin constitutes the only official notification you will receive from this office concerning any of the following applications. Any observations you may have are solicited. Any comments should be in writing to Jorge L. Perez, Banking Commissioner, Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103-1800. Written comments will be considered only if they are received within ten business days from the date of this bulletin.
Section 36a-145 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires that certain applications for a branch or limited branch at which loans will be made address how the establishment of the branch will be consistent with safe and sound banking practices and promote the public convenience and advantage. Plans may be submitted when such applications are filed and any plans that are filed will be made available for public inspection and comment at the Department for a period of 30 days. Questions concerning branch activity should be directed to the Financial Institutions Division at (860) 240-8180.
DATE: January 23, 2023
BANK: Salisbury Bank and Trust Company, Salisbury
LOCATION: 2064 New Hackensack Road Suite 1, Poughkeepsie, New York 12603
ACTIVITY-BRANCH TYPE: Filed Notice of Branch Closing
PROPOSED CLOSING DATE: April 30, 2023
On January 25, 2023, NBT Bancorp Inc., a financial holding company headquartered in Norwich, NY, filed an application pursuant to Sections 36a-184 and 36a-411 of the Connecticut General Statutes to merge Salisbury Bancorp Inc., a bank holding company headquartered in Lakeville, Connecticut, with and into NBT Bancorp, Inc. Also on January 25, 2023, NBT Bank N.A., a federally-chartered commercial bank and wholly-owned subsidiary of NBT Bancorp, Inc., filed an application pursuant to Section 36a-412(a)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes for the merger of Salisbury Bank and Trust Company, a Connecticut bank headquartered in Lakeville, Connecticut and wholly-owned subsidiary of Salisbury Bancorp, Inc., with and into NBT Bank, N.A. The proposed target date of the merger is in the second quarter of 2023.
Main Office Relocation
On January 25, 2023, the Commissioner approved the application by Fieldpoint Private Bank & Trust to relocate its main office from 100 Field Point Rd., Greenwich, CT 06830 to One Greenwich Plaza, Suite A, Second Floor, Greenwich, CT 06830 pursuant to Section 36a-81 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The anticipated target date for this relocation is in the first quarter of 2023.
On February 2, 2023, pursuant to Sections 1-225 and 36a-70(i) of the Connecticut General Statutes, a special meeting of the Banking Commissioner will be held for the purpose of considering the application of the organizers of Banking Circle US, Stamford, Connecticut, for an extension of their Temporary Certificate of Authority to organize an uninsured bank. The meeting is scheduled to be held on February 2, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. via videoconference and via teleconference at (860) 840-2075, conference ID: 582 695 909#.
CREDIT UNION ACTIVITY
Field of Membership Amendment
On August 24, 2022, Achieve Financial Credit Union, a Connecticut credit union, filed a request for approval to amend its bylaws pursuant to Section 36a-437a(h)(3) of the Connecticut General Statutes to change its field of membership from a multiple common bond membership to a community membership including Hartford and New Haven counties.
CONSUMER CREDIT DIVISION ACTIVITY
On January 18, 2023, the Commissioner entered into a Consent Order with POINT MORTGAGE CORPORATION (NMLS # 231073) (“PMC”), Chula Vista, California. The Consent Order was based on an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division. As a result of such investigation, the Commissioner alleged that PMC failed to file with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry a change of the address of its branch office at least thirty (30) calendar days prior to such change and failed to provide a bond rider or endorsement, or addendum, as applicable, to the surety bond on file with the Commissioner, in violation of Section 36a-490(b)(2) of the Connecticut General Statutes. As part of the Consent Order, PMC paid $500 as a civil penalty.
On January 23, 2023, the Commissioner entered into a Consent Order with Viventium HCM, LLC d/b/a Viventium d/b/a Viventium Human Capital Management (NMLS # 2094503) (“Viventium”), Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. The Consent Order was based on an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division. As a result of such investigation, the Commissioner alleged that Viventium engaged in the business of money transmission in this state without the required license since at least 2019, in violation of Section 36a-597(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes. As part of the Consent Order, Viventium paid $10,000 as a civil penalty and $3,375 in back licensing fees.
SECURITIES AND BUSINESS INVESTMENTS DIVISION ACTIVITY
Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (CRD No. 119037)
On January 23, 2023, the Banking Commissioner entered a Consent Order (No. CO-22-202018-S) with respect to Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd., a Connecticut-registered broker-dealer. The firm previously maintained a Connecticut branch office from April 2009 to June 2021.
The Consent Order alleged that, from approximately 2017 to 2019, the firm 1) caused or induced trading in at least one customer’s account which was excessive in size or frequency in view of the customer’s financial situation and needs as disclosed by the customer; 2) exercised discretionary trading authority for at least one client account without first obtaining written discretionary authority from the client; and 3) offered and/or sold unregistered securities from Connecticut to at least one investor. The Consent Order also alleged that from approximately 2017 to 2021, the firm: 1) compensated at least one unregistered sales assistant with a percentage of the commissions earned by the firm's broker-dealer agents; 2) transacted business in Connecticut as an unregistered investment adviser in connection with at least one “fee in lieu” account in which clients were charged a fee based on a percentage of their assets under management; and 3) failed to enforce its established procedures for supervising the activities of its agents and Connecticut office operations.
The Consent Order added that, as a result, the firm engaged in dishonest or unethical business practices within the meaning of Section 36b-31-15a of the Regulations under the Connecticut Uniform Securities Act; transacted business as an unregistered investment adviser in violation of Section 36b-6(c)(1) of the Act; violated the prohibition on selling unregistered securities in 36b-16 of the Act; and failed to observe the supervisory requirements in Section 36b-31-6f of the Regulations.
The Consent Order fined Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. $200,000 and directed it to cease and desist from regulatory violations. The Consent Order also required that, for two years, the firm retain an independent consultant to 1) conduct twice yearly reviews of the firm's operations across all offices (with a special emphasis on the firm’s 521 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York location) as well as the firm's internal supervisory and compliance procedures to ensure compliance with the Act and its regulations; and 2) ensure implementation of revised procedures in accordance with the Consent Order and with applicable law.
Finally, the Consent Order restricted the firm and its agents for two years from: 1) exercising discretionary trading authority in any Connecticut client account; 2) utilizing margin in any Connecticut client account opened after the entry of the Consent Order; 3) maintaining any Connecticut branch offices; 4) selling any private placement securities offerings to any Connecticut client unless the client was an accredited investor as defined in Rule 501(a) under the Securities Act of 1933 (17 CFR 230.501(a)); 5) engaging in broker-dealer and broker-dealer agent activity in any Connecticut client account unless the activity involved the offer and sale of securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the NYSE MKT, the NASDAQ Global Select Market or the NASDAQ Global; securities issued by investment companies regulated under the Investment Company Act of 1940; commercial paper; certificates of deposit; corporate debt securities; municipal securities; United States government securities; private placements sold to accredited investors; and insurance products subject to regulation by the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner.
The Consent Order also obligated the firm to pay the cost, not to exceed $10,000, of one or more examinations to be conducted by the agency within 18 months.
Jorge L. Perez