New law joins securities commission, banking department

The Pennsylvania Securities Commission will be absorbed into the state Department of Banking under a bill Gov. Tom Corbett signed Monday.

House Bill 2438 authorizes creation of a consolidated “Department of Banking and Securities” within the state government’s administrative branch. The Secretary of Banking is to submit a reorganization plan by Aug. 31; the law proposes a date of Oct. 1 for the merger.

The reform will make state government more efficient, said state Rep. Mike Fleck, a Huntingdon County Republican and HB 2438’s prime sponsor.

“This legislation will consolidate two agencies and streamline their operations,” Fleck said in a statement.

The change is expected to save about $1.1 million initially, according to Fleck. Both agencies are self-funded through fees for licenses and examinations paid by the entities they regulate.

The securities commission will have the same functions under the reorganization as it does now, said Michael Byrne, the commission’s chief counsel. It increases the number of commissioners to five from three, adding representatives of the governor and the Secretary of Banking.

“We’re not going to miss a beat,” Department of Banking spokesman Ed Novak said today. Further comment regarding the merger would be premature, he said.

HB 2438, which passed both houses of the legislature unanimously, reverses a division accomplished some 40 years ago. The Securities Commission began as part of the Department of Banking but was made independent by the Pennsylvania Securities Act of 1972, Byrne said.

Tim Stuhldreher

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