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NEW JERSEY BANKING CHIEF ANNOUNCES BUDGET IMPACT ON DEPARTMENT OF BANKING SERVICES

 NEW JERSEY BANKING CHIEF ANNOUNCES BUDGET IMPACT
 ON DEPARTMENT OF BANKING SERVICES
 TRENTON, N.J., July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- New Jersey Banking Commissioner Jeff Connor today announced the impact on New Jerseyans of the Fiscal Year 1993 Budget for the Department of Banking, citing diminished consumer complaint and regulatory services as the hardest hit areas.
 "As recently as 1990, the Department of Banking had 156 employees, and now will be left with only 123 to regulate 1,700 financial institutions and consumer credit organizations, and license 6,600 lenders and vendors of credit, including all the mortgage bankers and brokers," Connor said. He explained that the $963,000 that was slashed from the department's self-supporting budget of $6.5 million by the Republican-controlled legislature has forced a reduction in staff of eight people (four unclassified management and administrative positions, and four newly hired income generating bank examiners with no civil service protections because of seniority rules). The department said it also expects the two retirements scheduled for later this fiscal year to have a positive impact on its budget. "The services of all of these dedicated people will be sorely missed," Connor added.
 The Department of Banking has reassigned five examiners from the main office in Trenton back into the field to perform much-needed examinations of banks, a move that will generate income for the state and more than make up for the income lost through the departing examiners. The vacancies left by those reassignments will be filled by individuals currently working in the Consumer Services Unit, the only unit which is not mandated by law and which produces no revenues.
 "The most immediate public impact as a result of the reassignment of individuals in the Consumer Services Unit will be that the department will no longer be able to handle telephone inquiries from the public," Connor noted. "We do, however, plan to continue to process those written complaints that would most likely lead to an enforcement action against state-chartered financial institutions and licensed companies."
 Last year the Consumer Services Unit received about 30,000 consumer inquiries, 2,800 of which were written, and recovered $442,064 in consumer refunds as a direct result of investigations launched on behalf of consumers. The department has instituted an automatic phone answering system to direct consumer inquiries to other agencies or request them to write to the Department of Banking. The consumer services number is 609-984-2777 and can be utilized using either a touch-tone or rotary dial phone.
 /delval/
 -0- 7/16/92
 /CONTACT: Christopher W. Cooney of the New Jersey Department of Banking, 609-292-7001/ CO: New Jersey Department of Banking ST: New Jersey IN: FIN SU:


MK-MP -- PH006 -- 9875 07/16/92 08:58 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 16, 1992
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