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The Department of Banking News Bulletin 

Bulletin # 3098 - Week Ending July 7, 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.

BANK ACTIVITY

Merger and Acquisition

On July 3, 2023, the Commissioner approved the acquisition by NBT Bancorp, Inc., a New York-based financial holding company, of Salisbury Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company headquartered in Salisbury, Connecticut, and issued a notice of intent not to disapprove the acquisition pursuant to Sections 36a-411 and 36a-185 of the Connecticut General Statutes. Also on July 3, 2023, the Commissioner approved the merger of Salisbury Bank and Trust Company, a commercial bank headquartered in Salisbury, Connecticut and wholly-owned subsidiary of Salisbury Bancorp, Inc., with and into NBT Bank, National Association, a New York-based national bank and wholly-owned subsidiary of NBT Bancorp, Inc., pursuant to Section 36a-412(a)(1) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  

CREDIT UNION ACTIVITY

Main Office Activity

DATE: July 6, 2023
CREDIT UNION:  Members Credit Union, Inc., Cos Cob 
LOCATION:  FROM: 126 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob, CT 
TO: 612 Bedford Street, Stamford, CT 06901
ACTIVITY-BRANCH TYPE:  Filed to Relocate Main Office

FIDUCIARY LICENSE ACTIVITY 

Business and Industrial Development Corporation

On July 6, 2023, Capital Business Lenders, Inc., a commercial small-business lender headquartered in Hartford, CT, filed an application for a license as a business and industrial development corporation pursuant to Section 36a-628 of the Connecticut General Statutes.

CONSUMER CREDIT ACTIVITY

Consent Order

On June 29, 2023, the Commissioner entered into a Consent Order with Mercantile CT, LLC d/b/a Mercantile Adjustment Bureau (NMLS # 1731286) (“Mercantile CT”) and Mercantile Adjustment Bureau, LLC.(NMLS # 962209) (“MAB”),Williamsville, New York. The Consent Order resolved allegations made by the Commissioner in a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Revoke and Refuse to Renew Consumer Collection Agency License, Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing issued on December 2, 2021 (“Order and Notice”). The Order and Notice was the result of an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division. The Order and Notice alleged that: (1) Mercantile CT engaged the services of an unlicensed collection agency, in violation of Section 36a 806(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect at such time; (2) Mercantile CT failed to deposit funds collected or received from Connecticut consumers in a trust account, in violation of Section 36a 811(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect at such time; (3) Mercantile CT failed to maintain the minimum tangible net worth of $50,000, as required under Section 36a 801(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes; (4) Mercantile CT failed to notify the Commissioner of the decrease in its tangible net worth from the minimum amount required pursuant to Section 36a 801(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes not later than the requisite 15 days of its occurrence, in violation of Section 36a 801(f)(3)(F) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect at such time; (5) Mercantile CT made a statement in a document filed with the Commissioner which was, at the time and in the light of circumstances under which it was made, false or misleading in a material respect, in violation of Section 36a 53a of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect at such time; (6) Mercantile CT conducted its business in a way which renders the Commissioner unable to determine that the financial responsibility, character and integrity are such as to warrant belief that the business will be operated soundly and efficiently, in the public interest and consistent with the purposes of Sections 36a-800 to 36a-814, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, as required pursuant to Section 36a 801(c)(2) of the Connecticut General Statutes; and (7) MAB acted within this state as a consumer collection agency without a consumer collection agency license, in violation of Section 36a 801(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes in effect at such time. As part of the Consent Order, Mercantile CT and MAB paid $30,000 as a civil penalty; Mercantile CT agreed to surrender its consumer collection license in Connecticut and be barred from acting directly as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut or acting indirectly in such capacity through a third-party entity, or being involved, directly or indirectly, in the collection of any consumer debt in Connecticut for a period of three (3) years.

Order Revoking and Refusing to Renew Mortgage Broker License

On June 29, 2023, the Commissioner issued an Order Revoking and Refusing to Renew Mortgage Broker License (“Order”) in the Matter of: L.A. Mortgage One LLC d/b/a L.A. Mortgage (NMLS # 2284171) (“Respondent”), Birmingham, Michigan. The basis of the Order was that the Respondent failed maintain a surety bond that runs concurrently with the period of its mortgage broker license, which constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to deny an application for such license under Section 36a-489(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to revoke and refuse to renew Respondent’s license to act as a mortgage broker in Connecticut from its main office pursuant to Sections 36a-492(c) and 36a-494(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The Order revokes and refuses to renew Respondent’s license to act as a mortgage broker in Connecticut from 400 Hamilton Row Suite 200, Birmingham, Michigan.

SECURITIES AND BUSINESS INVESTMENTS DIVISION ACTIVITY

NYPPEX, LLC (CRD No. 47654) and Laurence Geoffrey Allen (CRD No. 1063970)

On July 3, 2023, the Banking Commissioner entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and an Order (Docket No. NDR-20-14445-S) against NYPPEX, LLC, an applicant for broker-dealer registration under the Connecticut Uniform Securities Act, and Laurence Geoffrey Allen, managing member of the firm. The Order was entered by default since the Respondents failed to appear at the scheduled hearing. NYPPEX, LLC, formerly of 55 Old Field Point Road, Greenwich, Connecticut, is now based at 120 N. Washington Square, Suite 200, Lansing, Michigan 48933.

The July 3, 2023 action had been preceded by a December 7, 2022 Amended Notice of Intent to Deny Registration as Broker-dealer, Amended Notice of Intent to Deny Registration as a Broker-dealer Agent and Amended Notice of Right to Hearing (Docket No. NDR-20-14445-S) alleging that several disciplinary events against the Respondents and involving charges of fraud supported denial of their pending registrations. These included 1) a February 4, 2021 permanent injunction obtained by the New York Attorney General against the Respondents, which injunction was later upheld by the New York Court of Appeals (James, AG SNY v Allen, N.Y. App. Div., 198 A.D.3d 531 (1st Dep’t 2021)); 2) an August 26, 2022 FINRA Extended Hearing Panel Decision expelling NYPPEX from FINRA membership and barring Allen from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity (FINRA Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2019064813801); and 3) a May 13, 2022 Final Order of Default entered by the State of Kentucky revoking NYPPEX’s broker-dealer registration in that state. 

Since the Respondents failed to appear at the scheduled hearing, the allegations against them in the Amended Notice were deemed admitted. Accordingly, the Commissioner found that grounds existed under Sections 36b-15(a)(2)(D) and 36b-15(a)(2)(F) of the Act for denying the firm’s broker-dealer registration in Connecticut and the registration of Respondent Allen as an agent of the firm.

The Order provided that the registration denials would become effective on July 5, 2023, the mailing date of the Order.

 

      Dated:  Tuesday, July 11, 2023

      Jorge L. Perez
      Banking Commissioner