DOB: Bulletin 2664 - March 13, 2015

The Department of Banking News Bulletin 

Bulletin # 2664
Week Ending March 13, 2015

This bulletin constitutes the only official notification you will receive from this office concerning any of the following applications.  Any observations you may have are solicited.  Any comments should be in writing to Jorge L. Perez, Banking Commissioner Designate, Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103-1800.  Written comments will be considered only if they are received within ten days from the date of this bulletin.


STATE BANK ACTIVITY
Branch Activity

Section 36a-145 of the Connecticut General Statutes requires certain applications for a branch, or for a limited branch at which loans will be made, be accompanied by a plan detailing how adequate services to meet the banking needs of all community residents will be provided.  Plans are submitted when such applications are filed and are available for public inspection and comment at this Department for a period of 30 days.  Questions concerning branch activity should be directed to the Financial Institutions Division, (860) 240-8180.

 Date
Bank 
Location 
Activity 
03/02/15
Bankwell Bank
New Canaan
    370 Westport Avenue
    Norwalk, CT  06851
Opening
Date
03/12/15
 
United Bank
Rockville
  *287 Somers Road
    Ellington, CT  06029
Approved
03/12/15
First County Bank
Stamford
**3001 Summer Street
    Stamford, CT  06905
Notice of Intent
Not to Disapprove
*Loan Production Office
**Limited Branch


Acquisition and Merger

On March 10, 2015, ESB Bancorp, Inc., a Massachusetts bank holding company and wholly-owned subsidiary of ESB Bancorp, MHC, a Massachusetts mutual holding company, filed an acquisition statement and application pursuant to Sections 36a-184 and 36a-411 of the Connecticut General Statutes for the acquisition of Citizens National Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company headquartered in Putnam, Connecticut.  The acquisition will take place through the merger of ESB Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of ESB Bancorp, Inc., with and into Citizens National Bancorp, Inc.  Subsequent to the merger, Citizens National Bancorp, Inc. will either be dissolved or merged into ESB Bancorp, Inc.  Also on March 10, 2015, Easthampton Savings Bank, a Massachusetts-chartered savings bank and wholly-owned subsidiary of ESB Bancorp, Inc., filed an application pursuant to Section 36a-412 of the Connecticut General Statutes for the merger of The Citizens National Bank, a national association headquartered in Putnam, Connecticut and wholly-owned subsidiary of Citizens National Bancorp, Inc., with and into Easthampton Savings Bank.  In connection with these filings, ESB Bancorp, Inc. and Easthampton Savings Bank filed a community reinvestment plan that is available for public inspection and comment at the Department of Banking for a period of 30 days.


CONSUMER CREDIT DIVISION ACTIVITY
Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order to Make Restitution, Notice of Intent
to Issue Order to Cease and Desist and Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty

On March 2, 2015, the Acting Commissioner issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order to Make Restitution (“Order to Make Restitution”), Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing (collectively “Notice”) in the Matter of:  AmeriTrust Law Group LLC (“Respondent”), Washington, DC and Jacksonville, Florida.  The Notice was the result of an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division.  The Commissioner alleges that Respondent engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  As part of the Order to Make Restitution, Respondent was ordered to repay $2,050 to an identified Connecticut resident, plus interest, and to repay fees to any other Connecticut resident who entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services with Respondent on and after October 1, 2009, plus interest.  The Commissioner also found that public welfare required the issuance of a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist against Respondent.  Respondent was afforded an opportunity to request a hearing with regard to the allegation set forth in the Notice.

On March 2, 2015, the Acting Commissioner issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order to Make Restitution (“Order to Make Restitution”), Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing (collectively “Notice”) in the Matter of:  Home Loan Division, Santa Ana, California; Serrano Financial LLC d/b/a Default Servicing, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, California; and Kelvin Pickering (collectively, “Respondents”).  The Notice was the result of an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division.  The Commissioner alleges that each Respondent engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  As part of the Order to Make Restitution, Respondents were ordered to repay $2,253.38 to an identified Connecticut resident, plus interest, and to repay fees to any other Connecticut resident who entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services with Respondent on and after October 1, 2009, plus interest.  The Commissioner also found that public welfare required the issuance of a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist against Respondents.  Respondents were afforded an opportunity to request a hearing with regard to the allegations set forth in the Notice.

On March 2, 2015, the Acting Commissioner issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order to Make Restitution (“Order to Make Restitution”), Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing (collectively “Notice”) in the Matter of:  Mehdi Moarefian d/b/a Green Tree Financial Group a/k/a Greentree Financial Group (“Respondent”), Newport Beach, California.  The Notice was the result of an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division.  The Commissioner alleges that Respondent engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  As part of the Order to Make Restitution, Respondent was ordered to repay fees to identified Connecticut residents, plus interest, and to repay fees to any other Connecticut resident who entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services with Respondent on and after October 1, 2009, plus interest.  The Commissioner also found that public welfare required the issuance of a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist against Respondent.  Respondent was afforded an opportunity to request a hearing with regard to the allegations set forth in the Notice.

On March 2, 2015, the Acting Commissioner issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order to Make Restitution (“Order to Make Restitution”), Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing (collectively “Notice”) in the Matter of:  Real Estate Law Center, P.C. (“Respondent”), Los Angeles, California.  The Notice was the result of an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division.  The Commissioner alleges that Respondent offered to engage in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a 671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  As part of the Order to Make Restitution, Respondent was ordered to repay fees to any Connecticut resident who entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services with Respondent on and after October 1, 2009, plus interest.  The Commissioner also found that public welfare required the issuance of a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist against Respondent.  Respondent was afforded an opportunity to request a hearing with regard to the allegation set forth in the Notice.

On March 2, 2015, the Acting Commissioner issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist, Order to Make Restitution (“Order to Make Restitution”), Notice of Intent to Issue Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Impose Civil Penalty and Notice of Right to Hearing (collectively “Notice”) in the Matter of:  Renaissance Legal Group APC a/k/a Renaissance Legal Group, Inc. d/b/a Salvation Law Group, Costa Mesa, California; and Ronny Mor, Esq. (collectively, “Respondents”).  The Notice was the result of an investigation by the Consumer Credit Division.  The Commissioner alleges that each Respondent engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a 671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes.  As part of the Order to Make Restitution, Respondents were ordered to repay identified Connecticut residents identified amounts, plus interest, and to repay fees to any other Connecticut resident who entered into an agreement for debt negotiation services with Respondents on and after October 1, 2009, plus interest.  The Commissioner also found that public welfare required the issuance of a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist against Respondents.  Respondents were afforded an opportunity to request a hearing with regard to the allegations set forth in the Notice.


Order to Cease and Desist and Order Imposing Civil Penalty

On March 2, 2015, the Acting Commissioner issued an Order to Cease and Desist and Order Imposing Civil Penalty (“Order”) In the Matter of:  Hatfield Portfolio Group LLC f/k/a Harbinger Processing Group LLC (“Respondent”), Getzville, New York.  The basis of the Order was that Respondent acted within this state as a consumer collection agency without a consumer collection agency license, in violation of Section 36a 801(a) of the 2014 Supplement to the General Statutes.  Respondent was ordered to cease and desist from violating Section 36a-801(a) of the 2014 Supplement to the General Statutes and to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $100,000.

On March 3, 2015, the Acting Commissioner issued an Order to Cease and Desist and Order Imposing Civil Penalty (“Order”) In the Matter of:  Apex Tax Resolution LLC d/b/a Apex Home Solution LLC, Murrieta and Costa Mesa, California; Mayada Abdullah; and Gazi M. Abdullah a/k/a Ghazi M. Abdullah (collectively “Respondents”).  The basis of the Order was that each Respondent engaged in debt negotiation in this state without obtaining the required license, in violation of Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended by Public Act 14-7.  Each Respondent was ordered to cease and desist from violating Section 36a-671(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, and to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $100,000.  In addition, an Order of Restitution previously issued against Respondents on December 15, 2014, remains in effect and became permanent on January 7, 2015.


    Dated:  Tuesday, March 17, 2015


    Jorge L. Perez
    Banking Commissioner Designate