BANKING REGULATION

The enforcement powers of the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities have been beefed up under legislation, HB 2369, signed by Governor Tom Corbett. Corbett also signed two other banking bills, HB 2368 and 2370, that Department Secretary Glenn E. Moyer said will “modernize banking statutes.”

According to the department, HB 2368 upgrades the Banking Code of 1965, including increasing penalties for unlawful lending and trust activities. Those crimes were formerly classified as misdemeanors with fines from $1,000 to $5,000. Under the new law, those crimes are felonies carrying penalties from $10,000 to $500,000.

HB 2369 upgrades the Department of Banking Code by allowing the department to “remove unscrupulous individuals from bank management and boards,” according to the department.

Like 45 other state financial regulators, the department now has the power to assess civil monetary penalties against “individuals and their institutions for conduct that causes the institution to suffer substantial financial loss, is willful, flagrant or evidences bad faith, involves an insider who benefits in a substantial way or does not comply with previous supervisory actions involving violations,” according to the department.

HB 2370 repeals Section 301(e)(7)-(11) of the Loan Interest and Protection Law relating to variable-rate mortgage loan disclosures.

Most of the law’s provisions have been pre-empted by federal laws, but the rollback of the federal pre-emption in the Dodd-Frank Act made the adjustable-rate mortgage disclosure provisions of the act applicable again, rendering Section 301 disclosures duplicative, according to the department.

The new law eliminates these duplicative disclosure requirements, the department said.

DRINKING INFRACTIONS

A new law increases the maximum fine for a person’s first underage drinking or public drunkenness offense from $300 to $500 and the maximum fine for a second and subsequent offenses from $500 to $1,000.

Corbett signed the legislation, SB 941, October 25.

The fines for public drunkenness were last increased in 1972.