Enforcement of Laws
Administered by Department
Investigations conducted by the Consumer Credit Division, Financial Institutions Division and Securities and Business Investments Division may originate in different ways.
Complaints received from anyone using the services of an individual or entity regulated by the Department of Banking, public inquiries or matters raised during an examination may prompt further review by the appropriate division. If a division believes a violation of law has occurred, it may attempt to obtain voluntary compliance by entering into a consent order, settlement agreement or stipulation and agreement with an individual or entity regulated by the department. An individual or entity that signs a consent order, settlement agreement or stipulation and agreement need not admit that it has violated the law, but it must agree to stop the disputed practices outlined therein.
The Department can alternatively pursue relief through administrative proceedings. Examples include a fine, a cease and desist order, or denial, suspension or revocation of a license or registration. Administrative proceedings entitle respondents to a hearing. Procedurally, a hearing is much like a court trial with evidence being submitted, testimony heard and witnesses examined and cross-examined. However, unlike a court proceeding, the rules of evidence in an administrative hearing are relaxed. Final decisions issued by the Commissioner may be appealed to the Superior Court.
If an individual or entity violates an administrative order, the Commissioner may also seek civil penalties or an injunction. In this case, a referral would be made to the Attorney General's Office, which would, in turn, make an independent decision on whether or not to pursue the case in court. Similarly, if the Division believes evidence of a criminal violation exists, it may refer the matter to the Chief State's Attorney's Office for possible criminal prosecution.