“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” -- Steve Jobs
This week the world mourns the passing of innovator and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. A modern-day Thomas Edison, Jobs created many of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives. Yet perhaps his greatest legacy is not the technology he created, but the reminder to follow our heart and to live each day as if it is our last.
Theresa Brady Named Mississippi Banking Commissioner
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Theresa Brady Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, effective immediately. Brady, the former deputy commissioner of the banking department, succeeds John Allison who retired in September after 11 years as commissioner and almost 40 years with the department.
“Through her various roles in the department, Theresa has a good foundation of knowledge to rely upon in her new position,” Barbour said in a statement Monday. “I appreciate John Allison’s leadership as commissioner and his decades of service to the public.”
Brady is a Columbus native and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking and Finance from Mississippi State University and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law. She has held several other positions within the Department, including director of the consumer finance division. Brady previously served as the bond director for the state treasurer's office.
The Conference of State Bank Supervisors congratulates Brady on her appointment as commissioner and looks forward to working with her in this new capacity.
New York Department of Financial Services Opens Its Doors
Monday, the New York State Banking Department and Insurance Department merged to form the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). The merger was the result of legislation, known as the Financial Services Law, introduced as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2011 budget.
Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky announced the launch of the new department during a speech earlier this week at Pace University in New York. During the announcement Lawsky shared that the purpose of consolidating the two agencies is to modernize regulation by allowing DFS to oversee a broader array of financial products and services.
“We are taking the best of the Banking and Insurance Departments and working to add new skills and responsibilities so we can keep pace with the rapid developments in the financial markets," Superintendent Lawsky said. “That's necessary to keep consumers protected and keep the institutions we regulate safe, solvent and able to meet their obligations.”
Lawsky and the 1,700-person agency will oversee 3,900 banks, insurers, mortgage brokers, loan servicers and New York-based outposts of foreign banks. Those companies have about $5.7 trillion in combined assets.
Senate Banking Committee Sends Cordray Nomination to Full Senate
The Senate Banking Committee has approved Richard Cordray’s nomination as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by a 12-10 vote and will now send it to the full Senate for consideration.
Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-SD, released a statement following the committee vote: “Today’s Banking Committee vote on Richard Cordray is an important step forward for American consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau needs a director, and Mr. Cordray has proven he is qualified for the job. He should be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as possible.”
The Committee also approved the nominations of Alan Krueger, to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers; David Montoya, to be HUD inspector general; Cyrus Amir-Mokri, to be an assistant secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions; and Patricia Loui and Larry Walther, to be members of the Export-Import Bank Board of Directors.
Around the States
ID: Gavin Gee, Director of the Idaho Department of Finance, announced that the department will be a sponsor of the upcoming “Smart Women, Smart Money—Idaho Everywoman’s Financial Conference” in Boise and Coeur d’Alene. “We are pleased to again be a part of this valuable and fun conference offering Idaho’s women an excellent opportunity to enhance their financial knowledge and skills. Given the current economy, the timing of this conference could not be better,” Gee said. The department is a long-time sponsor of the conference. Read more.
CT: Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin has named Eric Wilder as Director of the Securities and Business Investments Division of the Connecticut Department of Banking. Wilder has been serving in an acting capacity since April of 2011. “Eric is extremely qualified and has extensive knowledge of the securities industry,” Commissioner Pitkin said. “He is a dedicated professional, who fully understands how the industry runs.” Read more.
WV: The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced that the West Virginia Division of Banking (Division) has received a certificate of accreditation, certifying that the division maintains the standards and practices in state banking supervision set by the organization’s accreditation program. The West Virginia Division of Banking was first accredited by CSBS in August of 1996 and has maintained its accreditation for more than 15 years. Read more.
Around the Agencies
FINRA: The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that it fined Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., $1 million for supervisory failures that allowed a registered representative at Merrill Lynch's branch office in San Antonio, Texas, to use a Merrill Lynch account to operate a Ponzi scheme. Read more.
HUD: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the September edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest housing data offered continued mixed signals as home prices improved for the fourth consecutive month but showed continued strain from foreclosures and distressed sales. Also, mortgage defaults and foreclosure completions continued a downward trend as more homeowners were able to secure mortgage relief. Read more.
OCC: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced recently that David Nebhut has been appointed Deputy Comptroller for Economic and Policy Analysis. As Deputy Comptroller Nebhut oversees the portion of the OCC’s Economics program that carries out economic analysis of banking and the financial system more broadly, and conducts research and analysis related to economic aspects of policy issues. Nebhut also oversees compliance risk analysis, ensuring that the OCC effectively addresses issues related to the use of quantitative methods and models for bank compliance activities. Read more.
TREASURY: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner testified before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee Thursday about the work of the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s efforts to implement regulatory reforms and identify emerging threats to the nation’s financial stability. Geithner responded to questions covering a broad range of issues including the state of the European financial system and international consistency of financial regulation. Read more.
FREDDIE MAC: Freddie Mac announced that it plans to issue a new three-year USD Reference Notes security due on Nov. 25, 2014. The issue will be priced on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, and will settle on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, at benchmark size. The new three-year Reference Notes security will be offered via a syndicate of dealers headed by Barclays Capital, Citigroup Global Markets and UBS Investment Bank. An application will be made to list the issue on the Euro MTF market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Read more.
October 10: The Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ office will be closed in observance of Columbus Day.
October 12: The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on Oversight of the Federal Home Loan Banks. Read more.
October 12: The Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on legislation to expand credit union member business lending. Read more.
October 13: The International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on the U.S. housing finance system. Read more.
"The Department of Financial Services has three main goals – keeping New York on the cutting edge as the financial capital of the world, protecting consumers better than ever before, and serving as a model of efficient government.”
-- Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent, during the launch of the new department Oct. 3, 2011.
Catherine Woody, Editor
Edward Smith, Contributing Editor
Rockhelle Johnson, Contributing Writer