DLLR at Your Door - A Monthly Update from DLLR Secretary Thomas E. Perez

A Message from Secretary Perez

It is often assumed that regulation is bad for business. But if the nationwide mortgage crisis has taught us anything, it’s that effective regulation is critical to building a sound business climate. The mortgage foreclosure mess we see today was largely driven by lax and sometimes unscrupulous lending practices that were an integral part of the housing boom, and were also an integral part of its downfall and the larger economic slowdown. The mortgage industry itself has suffered because of a lack of sufficient oversight.

A year ago, in response to the prospect of thousands of Maryland families losing their homes to foreclosure, Governor Martin O’Malley called lenders, brokers, realtors, housing counselors, consumer advocates and government officials to the table to find consensus on reforms for the mortgage industry to prevent future crises. The resulting legislative package received overwhelming bipartisan support and has changed the way the mortgage industry operates in Maryland. Our new laws, which were a collaborative effort between government, business and the advocacy community, show that it is possible to create regulations that are both consumer friendly and business friendly.

foreclosure update Mortgage Loan Late?  Don't Wait!  If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure or having trouble making mortgage payments, call DHCD at 1-877-462-7555.  If you think you are a victim of mortgage fraud, call DLLR at 1-888-784-0136

In the first quarter of 2008, 1,658 Maryland homeowners were in danger
of losing their homes to foreclosure. DLLR has been working closely with the Department of Housing and Community Development to offer informational forums and town hall meetings to help homeowners find alternatives to foreclosure. On May 5, Secretary Perez took part in a community foreclosure forum in Western Maryland. On May 12, he joined with Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton for a community forum in Charles County.

Secretary Perez in Frederick County, Maryland on May 5th during Community Foreclosure Forum
Secretary Perez in Frederick County, Maryland on May 5th during Community Foreclosure Forum.

(left to right) Frederick County Commission President Jan Gardner, Frederick Mayor William J. Holtzinger, Brad Peterson-Housing Counselor
(left to right) Frederick County Commission President Jan Gardner, Frederick Mayor William J. Holtzinger, Brad Peterson-Housing Counselor.

Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton talks with homeowner after he hosted the a community foreclosure forum on May 12, 2008 in Charles County, Maryland
Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton talks with homeowner after he hosted the a community foreclosure forum on May 12, 2008 in Charles County, Maryland.

foreclosure legislation

On May 13, Governor O’Malley’s signed a bill that will better enable the Commissioner of Financial Regulation to protect consumers in mortgage and other financial transactions. House Bill 417 authorizes the Commissioner to enter into information sharing agreements with certain regulatory agencies from other states and the federal government. The Commissioner will have the authority to exchange information and data regarding mortgage and other licensees, better enabling the prevention of mortgage fraud, illegal lending activities and other financial-related wrongdoing.

The signing of House Bill 417 followed the signing of a comprehensive package of mortgage and foreclosure reforms, adding another layer to Maryland’s efforts to encourage sustainable home ownership. This bill also enhances the Commissioner’s ability to enter into agreements needed to share information to help thwart terrorist financing and money laundering. The law takes effect July 1, 2008.

labor and industry

Following the latest crane accident in New York City on May 31, 2008, the Division of Labor & Industry / MOSH received a number of calls regarding crane operations in Maryland. Prior to the first incident in NYC in March, Commissioner of Labor & Industry Ron DeJuliis assembled an internal team to develop a strategy to increase training levels for equipment operators. The Commissioner has since brought together industry representatives, labor officials, and safety professionals to develop the appropriate response and to share information. The group has met twice and is focused on critical issues related to crane operator certification, rigger training & certification, and pre-lift safety requirements. Commissioner DeJuliis expects to reach a consensus on regulations to enhance safety for workers and the public.

new laws

On June 1, two departmental bills took effect. The first will allow spouses of military personnel who leave their jobs to follow a family member out of state to receive unemployment insurance benefits. The bill recognizes the reality of military employment and is an important part of Maryland’s efforts to support military families. Moving because of a military transfer can be stressful, and this measure will help make the process easier by ensuring that two-income families will be able to maintain enough income to care for their families while getting settled in a new home.

The second new law repeals the requirement that a licensed debt management service provider be a nonprofit entity. Financial Regulation Commissioner Sarah Bloom Raskin is committed to ensuring all new licensees are examined thoroughly and are in compliance with the new law.

It is our pleasure to introduce to you …

Mark A. Kaufman has been named the new Deputy Commissioner of Financial Regulation. Mr. Kaufman brings more than 15 years of financial services experience to the division. Prior to joining DLLR, Mr. Kaufman was a Managing Director in Investment Banking with CIBC World Markets in Baltimore, and co-head of the firm’s Business Services practice. Previously, he was a member of the Investment Banking division of Alex Brown & Sons / Deutsche Bank from 1995 to 2002, as well as an Associate in the Treasury at JP Morgan. Mr. Kaufman also served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs from 1992 to 1994. In that capacity, he advised on capital markets and bank regulation, mortgage finance and urban development issues. He also managed Committee hearings and the legislative drafting of the home ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994, the principal federal legislation in place aimed at predatory mortgage lending.

Looking Ahead…

Workforce Creation and Adult Education Transition Council informationIn June DLLR will be gearing up for the first Workforce Creation and Adult Education Transition Council meeting, which will be held in early July. Governor Martin O'Malley signed into law legislation to transfer oversight of adult education and literacy programs, the GED Testing Office, and adult correctional education to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation's (DLLR) Division of Workforce Development. This new alignment of adult education, correctional education and workforce development is a central part of the Governor's vision for a comprehensive and collaborative system of workforce creation for Maryland.

While the actual program transfer will not occur until July 1, 2009, an extensive transition process will take place in the interim. The law establishes a Workforce Creation and Adult Education Transition Council to begin work on July 1, 2008 to design a framework for aligning these programs. The Council must complete its work and provide the Governor and the General Assembly with a report by December 31, 2008, outlining the plan for the seamless transition of adult and correctional education programs and personnel to DLLR.

State of Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
500 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202