Olympia – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) recently received bank and mortgage re-accreditation from the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), Credit Union re-accreditation from the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) and Money Services Businesses (MSB) accreditation from CSBS. Washington’s DFI is one of only three states to have received MSB accreditation.
“I’m extremely proud of our agency,” DFI Director Charlie Clark said. “I had no doubt we’d receive accreditation – the staff at DFI are experts in their fields and some of the most dedicated people I know. DFI’s stated vision is ‘Leading the way in consumer protection and financial services regulation’ and we do that. These reviews, re-accreditations and new MSB accreditation are a testament to that vision.”
To earn accreditation, the DFI needed to meet CSBS and NASCUS standards in:
- Administration and Finance
- Legislative Powers
“Accreditation is direct evidence of an agency’s capabilities and benefits all credit unions in the state as well,” NASCUS President and CEO Lucy Ito said. “It recognizes the professionalism of a state agency’s regulators, supervisors, and staff, while potentially delivering an impetus and support for legislation to modernize state law and policy changes to advance state supervisory processes and best practices.”
“NASCUS accreditation is a robust process that includes disciplined self-evaluation, peer review, and ongoing monitoring,” NASCUS noted in their accreditation announcement. “The process, administered by the NASCUS Performance Standards Committee (PSC), measures a state regulatory agency’s ability and resources to carry out its regulatory and supervisory programs effectively.”
CSBS noted in their accreditation report:
“The Agency’s regulatory programs supervise 37 state-chartered banks with total assets of just over $84 Billion, all of which are federally insured. In addition, the Agency supervises 18 non-depository trust companies, 28 bank holding companies, 326 mortgage companies, 235 mortgage servicers, and 217 money transmitters, which includes 56 virtual currency companies...
A Review Team of seven highly experienced former and current regulators, as well as CSBS and NASCUS Staff, performed the remote joint accreditation review during a five-day visit on June 7, 2021 to June 11, 2021. The Review Team conducted a thorough review of the Agency’s recently completed SEQ (Self-Evaluation Questionnaire), interviewed key personnel and a cross-section of examiners, and reviewed the products of supervision. The Review Team interviewed 36 Agency employees serving in various administrative, management, examiner, and staff positions. The Review Team also reviewed a sample of examination reports, correspondence, and related information for banks, mortgage companies, and MSBs of various asset sizes and risk classifications.”
Likewise, NASCUS also had a rigorous review process:
“An Accreditation Review Team (ART) of seven highly experienced former regulators and NASCUS and CSBS staff performed the remote accreditation review during a five-day virtual visit on June 7-12, 2021. The ART conducted a thorough review of the Agency’s recently completed SERA (Self-Evaluation for Re-Accreditation), interviewed key personnel and a cross-section of examiners, and reviewed the products of supervision. The ART interviewed 14 Agency employees serving in various administrative, management, and examiner positions. The ART also reviewed a sample of examination reports, correspondence, and related information for credit unions of various asset sizes and risk classifications.”
The DFI met all NASCUS and CSBS requirements and received accolades (areas where the agency exceeded accreditation standards) from the review teams in several areas, notably in:
- CSBS - Ability to Examine and Rate - Trust (companies and departments);
- CSBS - Ability to Examine and Rate – IT Examination and Cybersecurity;
- CSBS - Bank Supervision and Legislation;
- CSBS - Mortgage Examination (including Ability to Participate in Multi-State Examinations) Supervision and Legislation;
- CSBS - Money Services Businesses (MSB) Examination, Supervision and Legislation;
- NASCUS - Internal Communication;
- NASCUS – Communication with Other Regulatory Agencies;
- NASCUS - Communication with the Industry;
- NASCUS – Personnel and Training; and
- Consumer Education/Financial Literacy (from both CSBS and NASCUS).
“At DFI, we strive for excellence in all aspects of our agency mission,” Clark said. “We are honored to be recognized for our work by CSBS and NASCUS, but won’t be resting on our laurels, we will continue working to keep Washington’s regulated financial industry safe and sound for consumers.”