The Office of the State Bank Commissioner was established in 1919. The State Bank Commissioner is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Delaware State Senate to serve a four-year term. The Commissioner is responsible for administering and enforcing all the provisions of the State Banking Code, Title 5 of the Delaware Code. The Office of the State Bank Commissioner is staffed by approximately 35 State employees who serve the public interest by:
The Office of the State Bank Commissioner has for many years taken a leading role in developing proposed legislation to enhance and modernize Delaware’s Banking Code. Regulations are also issued by the State Bank Commissioner in accordance with the Banking Code. The Office provides guidance about the interpretation and administration of the State Banking Code and Regulations.
The State Bank Commissioner is responsible for administering and collecting the bank franchise tax, which is an income-based tax levied on all banking organizations and trust companies in Delaware. Bank franchise taxpayers are exempt from the State corporation income tax, and the bank franchise tax is in lieu of occupational taxes or taxes upon income, capital and assets, other than real estate.
Applications to form new state-chartered banks and trust companies, as well as to approve mergers and acquisitions and other banking services, are handled by the Office of the State Bank Commissioner. New applications are encouraged in order to provide expanded banking and trust services in Delaware, as well as to increase employment and promote the development of the banking industry in the State.
Examining financial institutions is a major focus of the activities of the Office of the State Bank Commissioner. Banks and trust companies are examined to ensure their safe and sound operation, and that trust services are provided in accordance with appropriate standards. In addition, banks, trust companies and non-depository licensees are examined to ensure compliance with state and federal banking laws and consumer protection statutes and regulations. The examination process improves the availability of financial services to all Delawareans and provides for economic stabilization and revitalization of communities. State and federally chartered banking organizations, including federal credit unions, are also examined to make sure that abandoned property is properly escheated to the State.
The Office of the State Bank Commissioner licenses and regulates hundreds of non-bank businesses that provide financial services in Delaware. Mortgage Loan Brokers are licensed to arrange residential mortgage loans for consumers. Businesses engaged in consumer lending, such as mortgage lenders or consumer finance companies, are licensed as Licensed Lenders. Mortgage Loan Originators are required to have individual licenses. Companies that sell travelers checks or receive funds for transmission are licensed for the Sale of Checks and Transmission of Money. Licenses for Cashing Checks, Drafts or Money Orders are issued to businesses who cash such items for consumers for a fee in excess of ten cents per item. Businesses engaged in Financing the Sale of Motor Vehicles are licensed to lend money to consumers through retail installment contracts for the purpose of purchasing a motor vehicle. Licenses are required for businesses engaged in the Transportation of Money and Valuables for hire. Businesses that create contracts for funeral goods and services for consumers wanting to make advance arrangements, receiving the payments of money as trust funds until the services are needed, are licensed to engage in Preneed Funeral Contracts.
The Non-Depository Institutions and Compliance staff of the Office of the State Bank Commissioner processes and investigates all applications for new non-depository licenses as well as all renewal applications. Investigations emphasize the financial stability of an applicant as well as the knowledge and experience of its principals. We inform licensees about statutory and regulatory changes to enable them to operate in compliance with applicable laws. To ensure that all Delaware consumers have the protection of Delaware’s statutes and regulations, we investigate reports of unlicensed business activity and initiate regulatory enforcement actions when appropriate. An updated list of each of these types of licensees is available on this website.
The Non-Depository Institutions and Compliance staff of the Office of the State Bank Commissioner responds to consumers who have questions or complaints about Delaware financial institutions. Our goal is the fair resolution of consumer problems. We handle many different types of inquiries from consumers through the telephone and through the mail. Some concern the terms of credit card agreements or transactional disputes consumers may have with their credit card issuer. Others involve the methods used by financial institutions to collect debts from delinquent borrowers. A call may be about a car being repossessed and a letter could relate that a consumer was overcharged by a mortgage loan broker. Problems concerning loans, checking accounts, savings accounts, residential mortgages, time deposits and anything else that involves a consumer and a Delaware bank or non-depository financial institution are all handled by the Non-Depository Institutions and Compliance staff.
The Office of the State Bank Commissioner actively promotes financial education for consumers, including increased awareness about problems with home mortgage lending. The Financial Literary Education Fund, established by statue in in 2009 in a law enacted by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Markell, is administered by the Office of the State Bank Commissioner.
The Council on Banking is an advisory council of seven persons, each of whom is appointed by the Governor for a term of three years. The membership of the Council is politically balanced, as required by statute. The Council meets periodically during each year to consider matters relating to the administration of the banking laws and the strengthening and improving of banking in the State. The Council may study, research, plan and advise on matters it deems appropriate to enable the Office of the State Bank Commissioner to function in the best possible manner. The State Banking Code specifically provides for the Council to consider the rates for examination fees and supervisory assessments that fund the operations of the Office of the State Bank Commissioner.