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.
In the first quarter of 2008, 1,658 Maryland homeowners were
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.
(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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
500 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202