New York Launches Department of Financial Services

NU Online News Service, Oct. 3, 2:10 p.m. EDT

New York’s new Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin M. Lawsky announces the launch of the state’s Department of Financial Services, which merges the insurance and banking departments.

The plan to merge the departments was finalized in March when the state passed its budget. At that time, the state said the department would oversee any financial product, service or entity that isn't already clearly regulated by another New York agency.

Today, Lawsky says the new department says it will consist of five divisions:

The Insurance Division will carry on the core functions of regulating all insurance activities in New York, including life, property and health insurance.

The Banking Division will continue regulating state chartered banks, along with other financial services providers such as mortgage servicers and originators, check cashers, money transmitters and budget planners.

The Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection Division will protect and educate consumers of financial products and services and fight financial fraud.

The Real Estate Finance Division will focus on all aspects of the mortgage industry “to ensure that the lessons from the recent financial crisis are learned and new reforms are instituted.”

The Capital Markets Division will actively monitor the latest developments and products and help the Department better police systemic risk.

Lawsky, who was confirmed as the department’s first superintendent in May, says, “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.”

In May, along with the confirmation of Lawsky, it was announced that James J. Wrynn, who was the superintendent of insurance prior to the merger, was named deputy superintendent of the new department.

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