Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Schweich announces Bankers' Accountability Act

(From State Auditor Thomas Schweich)

State Auditor Tom Schweich announced today his office will seek to introduce new legislation to counter the attempts by the Missouri Banker’s Association (MBA) to stop critical oversight of the Missouri Division of Finance, the state agency charged with regulating certain banks.

Schweich unveiled the Bankers' Accountability Act, a legislative proposal already backed by members of the General Assembly, to clarify the auditor's authority to conduct a thorough audit of the Division of Finance and to ensure the auditor will have complete access to the Division of Finance's bank examination records, with appropriate safeguards to protect proprietary information. "The Division of Finance overcharges, and it doesn't want oversight. That is unacceptable," said Senator Brad Lager, who, along with Representative Sue Allen, is committed to introducing the proposed legislation when session begins.

The need for this oversight became evident during a recent audit of the Division of Finance. This audit report (Report No. 2011-017), released on May 3, 2011, revealed that the Division of Finance had not: (i) performed adequate, timely examinations of savings and loan associations, (ii) had not followed established, published criteria while conducting examinations of four failed state-chartered banks, and (iii) overcharged state-chartered banks for examinations by over $1.5 million over the prior three years.

Because the Division of Finance neglected to follow established published criteria during their examinations of these failed banks, the state auditor requested the Division of Finance's examination records of banks which have not failed to determine whether the Division of Finance was meeting its examination obligations with respect to those institutions. Although the Division of Finance first refused to provide these records, the state auditor reached agreements

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