Thursday, January 31, 2013

Massachusetts Division of Banks visit Massachusetts Division of Banks website

Semester: 2013 Spring

Project Type: Dispute System Evaluation

Students: Natalie Perez & Lauren Schloss

The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation whose mission is to advance the public interest by ensuring a sound, competitive, and accessible banking and financial services environment.

The DOB is responsible for the supervision of more than 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions. It also licenses and supervises: nearly 800 mortgage lenders and brokers; over 4,000 individual mortgage loan originators; and an additional 3,500 non-bank financial entities, including check cashers, money transmitters, finance companies, and debt collectors.

As the DOB oversees its non-depository licensees, it conducts examinations to assess the level of compliance with consumer protection laws, as well as determines that the entities are operating in a safe and sound manner. For entities that are found to be operating in an unsound manner, the DOB has the authority to issue temporary cease-and-desist orders. Additionally, the DOB has the authority to suspend or revoke licenses of regulated  licensees. At times disputes will emerge and  a licensee will seek to appeal the DOB findings by requesting an administrative adjudicatory hearing pursuant to laws and regulations governing administrative procedure.

The DOB has engaged HNMCP to conduct a review of the DOB’s current administrative appeals process, research best practices for administrative hearings, and provide the DOB with  recommendations on how a hearing process may be best implemented.

Our Work

  • Identify and assess the current informal and formal administrative appeal procedures at the DOB through interviews with enforcement/legal counsel, non-depository staff, and investigative examiners
  • Identify and evaluate appeal and hearing models that are effectively employed by other state or federal regulatory agencies
  • Identify and evaluate hearing models utilized by regulators of similar size and staffing composition as the DOB
  • Research other administrative appeals options for consideration

Deliverables envisioned:

  • A report that includes recommendations for a  a dispute and administrative appeal system design that deploys staff in a way that considers both the need for autonomy in the administrative hearing  process as well as the staff’s other duties, and that highlights best practices at other governmental agencies.