January 13, 2011
QUESTIONS FOR BANKING COMMISSIONER NOMINEE
By: James Orlando, Associate Analyst
COMMISSIONER OF BANKING (CGS §§ 36A-10 — 36A-14)
The banking commissioner is responsible for administering the Department of Banking, including conducting examinations and investigations and adopting regulations as necessary. He must report annually to the governor on (1) the condition of organizations the department examines, (2) Truth-in-Lending Act administration, and (3) home financing. He must also report annually to both the governor and Banks Committee on interstate banking and the final certificates of authority issued for expedited banks.
1. The pending merger of First Niagara Bank and NewAlliance Bank has generated controversy. Several local and state officials have requested the opportunity for more public participation before the department approves the merger. Do you believe there has been an adequate opportunity for the public to express its concerns regarding the merger?
2. In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases of fraudulent activity by investment advisors and fund managers, including a few cases in Connecticut. Should the state do more to discover and prosecute fraudulent activity and protect investors?
3. Even as the economy has stabilized, home foreclosures continue at a much higher rate than before the financial crisis. Should the state do more to help those potentially facing foreclosure?
4. Questions often arise about federal preemption of various state banking laws. How can the state protect its consumers and businesses against the actions of parties regulated by the federal government, such as national banks?
5. The federal Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 instituted numerous changes to federal regulation of the financial industry. How has the act affected the state's regulatory authority?
6. In 2009, the General Assembly passed legislation aimed at better protecting consumers against identity theft (PA 09-239). Is there a need for further improvement in state identity theft laws? What can banks and other financial institutions do to protect the privacy of their customers' information?
7. What do you see as your major accomplishments in your tenure as banking commissioner?