Connecticut Banking Commissioner Attends 
Bank Supervisors' Meeting in Washington D.C.

April 1, 2004

Connecticut's Banking Commissioner John P. Burke went to Washington, D.C. last week to take part in a series of bank regulatory meetings organized by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS). He was one of sixty-one state bank regulators from 35 states who participated in this year's fly-in.

Delegates to the meeting kept to a full schedule from noon Wednesday, March 24, to noon Thursday, March 25, with policy briefings and visits with members of Congress.

The program is held annually to allow state banking regulators to communicate their positions and share information on current issues impacting the nation's banking system. "Members of Congress need to know how decisions made in Washington play out in their home states, which is why we bring our commissioners to Washington each year," said Neil Milner, CSBS President.

Burke, who has served as Connecticut's banking commissioner since 1995, discussed a myriad of issues currently facing the nation's banking industry, including payday lending, predatory lending, privacy and interstate banking. Federal preemption of state banking laws topped this year's agenda.

Commissioner Burke discussed his concerns regarding preemption in a recent op-ed. "State agencies can, and have, done the job faster and more efficiently because we are knowledgeable about state laws that need to be followed," said Burke. "The average consumer would have no idea whether a particular business is owned by a national bank. If they need to seek remedies their first instinct would be to call us - the state agency they can reasonably assume has jurisdiction over financial matters. To be effective, the Department of Banking must be able to require regulated entities and individuals adhere to the law, regardless of where they may have been chartered or by whom for that matter. Anything short of that jeopardizes the safety and soundness of our financial marketplace and the cost-efficient and effective regulation Connecticut citizens have been accustomed to."

The program featured a two-hour legislative briefing Wednesday afternoon, followed by a one-hour dialogue with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Thursday morning, delegates met with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and the Committee's Ranking Minority Member Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), followed by a dialogue with Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland). Delegates were also briefed by Ron Crump, Senior Counsel and Investigator for the Senate Select Committee on Aging, which recently held an oversight hearing on how state and federal governments combat predatory lending as it affects the elderly. Thursday afternoon, state commissioners met with their respective Congressional representatives to discuss the preemption issue.

Commissioner Burke said, "I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with my fellow banking commissioners to discuss pertinent issues and to share information regarding banking laws. It was also helpful to meet with our representatives in Congress, not only to express my concerns about preemption, but also to provide them with updates on other issues currently facing the Connecticut Department of Banking."