Point-Counterpoint: Banks and Financial Services

Written by City & State on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Government Operations, Spotlight

While most of the financial sector is watching Washington for the latest regulatory updates, Albany is engaged in its own effort to redefine the state’s relationship with Wall Street. The Capitol asked Joseph Griffo and Malcolm Smith, chairman and ranking member of the state Senate Committee on Banks respectively, to discuss these issues and more facing New York. What follows is an edited transcript. Q: How will the creation of the state Department of Financial Services affect the balance between… [More]

Soundbites: Banks and Financial Services

Written by City & State on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Government Operations, Spotlight

Mary Griffin Vice president and director of government affairs for Citigroup Improving the general business climate in New York is the most important issue to us. Keeping taxes low and creating an efficient regulatory climate will keep businesses in New York and could be the catalyst for job growth. It also will make New York more competitive in relation to neighboring states, especially Connecticut and New Jersey. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made significant progress on this front with the 2… [More]

Fight For Reform

Written by City & State on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Government Operations, Spotlight

A year after President Barack Obama signed into law sweeping reforms overhauling the nation’s financial system, one key component of the act remains unfulfilled. Hailed as a victory by consumer advocates nationwide, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was formally established last week. Absent an official director, however, supporters argue the new agency will be hamstrung in its efforts to protect consumers. Signed into law in July 2010, the Dodd–Frank reform, named for Senate and House finance committee chairmen Christopher Dodd… [More]

Schneiderman’s Mortgage Settlement Objections Picking Up Steam

Written by City & State on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Economic Development, Housing

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s objections to a 50-state settlement deal with major U.S. banks over how they sold mortgages during the housing bubble are starting to have a domino effect. Earlier this year, Schneiderman stood alone against the federal government’s desire to quickly force a settlement between the big banks and attorneys general from all 50 states about improper loan servicing and foreclosures. He raised concerns that the banks’ push for a quick settlement – protecting them from future liabilities… [More]

Cuomo’s First Report Card

Written by City & State on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Budget/Taxes, Campaigns/Elections, Economic Development, Education, Energy, Environment, Government Operations, Health Care, Other Features, Public Safety, Social Services

Goal What He Said* What Got Done GRADE Legalize same-sex marriage “We believe in justice for all; let’s pass marriage equality this year once and for all.” Cuomo stunned New York by shepherding same-sex marriage through the Republican-controlled Senate, sparking talk of him running for president in 2016. A+ Pass a balanced budget without borrowing “We need a state spending cap and we need to close this $10 billion gap without any borrowing.” The $132.5 billion state budget closed a… [More]

Sound-bites: Insurance

Written by Laura Nahmias on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Health Care, Social Services, Spotlight

Jessica Wisneski Legislative and campaigns director, Public Policy and Education Fund of New York/Citizen Action of New York A major priority of the new department must be to get the new health insurance exchange, required by the Affordable Care Act, up and running once legislation is passed to establish that new entity this legislative session. The DFS must be a strong partner with the exchange, protecting New York’s consumers from any improper practices of the health insurance industry. Stacey Rowland… [More]

Fender Bender

Written by Laura Nahmias on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Health Care, Public Safety, Spotlight

While some New York legislators are fighting to pass no-fault auto insurance reform—an issue that has united Democrats, Republicans and law enforcement officials—a key Assembly Democrat has thrown cold water on the likelihood of the bill passing before the end of session. The bill, which is still in committee, is designed to prevent automobile insurance fraud. Advocates say organized criminals stage fake car accidents to charge insurance companies for treating phony injuries to participants, known as “runners.” Under New York… [More]

Health Reform, Stat!

Written by Laura Nahmias on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Health Care, Spotlight

New York has more than $27 million in federal money to set up a health insurance exchange—but could lose most of that unless it passes a law to run the exchange before the session ends June 20. The state is one of seven that received an “early innovator” grant to help set up its exchange, in hopes of creating a domino effect that would pave the way for other states to create their own. The exchanges are virtual marketplaces where… [More]

Point/Counterpoint: Insurance

Written by Laura Nahmias on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Economic Development, Government Operations, Health Care, Interviews, Spotlight

Health insurance exchanges. “No-fault” auto insurance fraud. The merging of the state’s banking and insurance departments. Rarely has insurance been the focus of such intense negotiation and legislative activity. To that end, The Capitol has devoted the following pages to shining a spotlight on insurance. We take a look at the likelihood of passing a bill to step up health insurance exchanges—a federal requirement with millions of dollars at stake (page 24)—as well as legislation curbing auto insurance fraud, a… [More]

Good Cop/Bad Cop

Written by Laura Nahmias on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Economic Development, Government Operations, Interviews, Spotlight

To head the new Department of Financial Services, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tapped one of his closest advisors, Ben Lawsky, his chief of staff and a prosecutor who worked on Cuomo’s mortgage securities fraud cases during his term as attorney general. Lawsky, a New York native, will continue his position as Cuomo’s chief of staff until the new agency becomes operational in October. He spoke with The Capitol about lessons New York learned during the financial crisis and why he’s not… [More]