DOB: Fairfield County Mortgage - Amended and Restated NOI RefRen

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IN THE MATTER OF:

FAIRFIELD COUNTY MORTGAGE
GROUP, INC.
d/b/a FAIRFIELD MORTGAGE, INC.

    ("Respondent")

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AMENDED AND RESTATED
NOTICE OF INTENT TO REFUSE TO
RENEW MORTGAGE LENDER LICENSE

AND

NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING


I.  LEGAL AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION

The Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Part I of Chapter 668, Sections 36a-485 to 36a-534c, inclusive, of the Connecticut General Statutes, “Mortgage Lenders, Correspondent Lenders, Brokers and Loan Originators”.
 
Pursuant to the authority granted by Section 36a-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Commissioner, through the Consumer Credit Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking (“Department”), has investigated the renewal application and activities of Respondent to determine if it meets the minimum standards for renewal of its mortgage lender license for the 2010 licensing period and to determine if Respondent has violated, is violating or is about to violate the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner.
 
Section 36a-17(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes provides:
The commissioner, in the commissioner’s discretion, may make such public or private investigations or examinations within or outside this state, concerning any person subject to the jurisdiction of the commissioner, as the commissioner deems necessary to carry out the duties of the commissioner.
As a result of the investigation conducted by the Division, on October 22, 2010, the Commissioner issued a Notice of Intent to Refuse to Renew Mortgage Lender License and Notice of Right to Hearing, which is hereby amended and superseded to correct a technical error.
 
Section 36a-1-22 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, provides, in pertinent part:
The commissioner may amend the notice of hearing at any stage of the contested case prior to the close of evidence.
Subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
(a)  The commissioner may . . . refuse to renew any license issued by the commissioner under any provision of the general statutes by sending a notice to the licensee by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by any express delivery carrier that provides a dated delivery receipt.  The notice shall be deemed received by the licensee on the earlier of the date of actual receipt or seven days after mailing or sending.  Any such notice shall include:  (1) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing; (2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (3) a reference to the particular sections of the general statutes . . . involved; (4) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted; and (5) a statement indicating that the licensee may file a written request for a hearing on the matters asserted within fourteen days of receipt of the notice. . . .
(b)  If a hearing is requested within the time specified in the notice, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon the matters asserted in the notice unless the licensee fails to appear at the hearing.  After the hearing, the commissioner shall . . . refuse to renew the license for any reason set forth in the applicable licensing provisions of the general statutes if the commissioner finds sufficient grounds exist for such . . . refusal to renew.  If the licensee does not request a hearing within the time specified in the notice or fails to appear at the hearing, the commissioner shall . . . refuse to renew the license.
Section 4-182 of the Connecticut General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
(b)  When a licensee has made timely and sufficient application for the renewal of a license . . . , the existing license shall not expire until the application has been finally determined by the agency . . . .
(c)  No revocation, suspension, annulment or withdrawal of any license is lawful unless, prior to the institution of agency proceedings, the agency gave notice by mail to the licensee of facts or conduct which warrant the intended action, and the licensee was given an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of the license.
 
II.  MATTERS ASSERTED

1.
Respondent is a Delaware corporation with an office at 110 Prospect Street, Stamford, Connecticut (“Stamford Office”).
2.
At all times relevant hereto, Respondent has been licensed as a mortgage lender in Connecticut.
3.
On December 29, 2009, Respondent requested renewal of its Connecticut mortgage lender license on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (“NMLS”) for the January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 renewal period (“Renewal Request”) and submitted payment of the applicable application fee in connection therewith.
4.
On January 6, 2010, NMLS posted a “Returned ACH – Renewals” deficiency in connection with Respondent’s Renewal Request indicating that the application fee submitted by Respondent, as more fully described in paragraph 3 above, had been returned.
5.
On February 11, 2010, the Division, pursuant to Section 4-182(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes, sent a letter to Respondent by certified mail, return receipt requested, identifying various deficiencies in Respondent’s Renewal Request, including payment of the outstanding renewal fee, as more fully described in paragraphs 3 and 4 above, and giving Respondent an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of its mortgage lender license in Connecticut.
6. On February 18, 2010, the letter sent to Respondent, as more fully described in paragraph 5 above, was returned to the Division marked “Not Deliverable As Addressed, Unable To Forward.”
7. On March 24, 2010, NMLS posted a “Funds Pending – Renewals” notice indicating the submission of a new payment by Respondent in connection with its Renewal Request.
8. On April 2, 2010, NMLS again posted a “Returned ACH – Renewals” deficiency indicating that the application fee resubmitted by Respondent, as more fully described in paragraph 7 above, had been returned.
9. As of the date of this Amended and Restated Notice, Respondent has not paid the renewal fee for the January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 licensing period.
10.
Respondent submitted payments to the Department in 2002, 2004 and 2008 for certain fees, including renewal fees, exam fees and registration fees, which were all initially returned due to insufficient funds.
 
 
III.  AMENDED AND RESTATED STATUTORY BASIS FOR
REFUSAL TO RENEW MORTGAGE LENDER LICENSE
 
Section 36a-491(a)(1) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
Each applicant for . . . renewal of a license as a mortgage lender. . . shall pay to the system any required fees or charges and a license fee of one thousand dollars . . . .
Section 36a-489(a)(2)(A) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
The minimum standards for license renewal for a mortgage lender . . . shall include the following:  (i) The applicant continues to meet the minimum standards under subdivision (1) of this subsection; . . . and (iii) the mortgage lender . . . has paid all required fees for renewal of the license.
Section 36a-489(a)(2)(B) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
The license of a mortgage lender . . . failing to satisfy the minimum standards for license renewal shall expire.
Section 36a-494(a)(1) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
The commissioner may . . . refuse to renew any mortgage lender . . . license or take any other action, in accordance with the provisions of section 36a-51, for any reason which would be sufficient grounds for the commissioner to deny an application for such license under sections 36a-485 to 36a-498f, inclusive, 36a-534a and 36a-534b . . . .
Section 36a-489(a)(1) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes provides, in pertinent part, that:
The commissioner shall not issue an initial license for a mortgage lender . . . unless the commissioner, at a minimum, finds that . . . (C) the applicant demonstrates that the . . . character and general fitness of the applicant . . . are such as to command the confidence of the community and to warrant a determination that the applicant will operate honestly, fairly and efficiently within the purposes of sections 36a-485 to 36a-498f, inclusive, 36a-534a and 36a-534b . . . .
1.
Respondent’s failure to pay the fee required by Section 36a-491(a)(1) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes in connection with its Renewal Request, as more fully described in paragraphs 3  through 9, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, constitutes a failure to meet the minimum standards for renewal set forth in Section 36a-489(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes.  Such failure to meet minimum standards constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s license to engage in the business of a mortgage lender in Connecticut from the Stamford Office pursuant to Section 36a-494(a)(1) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes.
2.
Respondent’s repeated submission of payments to NMLS that were insufficient, its ongoing failure to pay the fee associated with its Renewal Request, and its historical pattern of submitting payments returned for insufficient funds, as more fully described in paragraphs 3 through 10, inclusive, of the Matters Asserted, causes Respondent to fail to demonstrate that Respondent’s character and general fitness will “command the confidence of the community and to warrant a determination that the applicant will operate honestly, fairly and efficiently within the purposes of sections 36a-485 to 36a-498f, inclusive, 36a-534a and 36a-534b,” which would be sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to deny an application for a mortgage lender license under Section 36a-489(a)(1)(C) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes, and constitutes an additional ground for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s license to engage in the business of a mortgage lender in Connecticut from the Stamford Office pursuant to Sections 36a-494(a)(1) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2010 Supplement General Statutes.
 
 
IV.  AMENDED AND RESTATED NOTICE OF INTENT TO REFUSE TO RENEW
MORTGAGE LENDER LICENSE AND NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING

WHEREAS, the Commissioner has reason to believe that Respondent has engaged in acts or conduct which constitutes sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to refuse to renew Respondent’s license to engage in the business of a mortgage lender in Connecticut from the Stamford Office pursuant to Section 36a-494(a)(1) and subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes.
 
NOW THEREFORE, notice is hereby given to Respondent that the Commissioner intends to REFUSE TO RENEW Respondent’s license to engage in the business of a mortgage lender in Connecticut from the Stamford Office, subject to Respondent’s right to a hearing on the allegations set forth above.
 
A hearing will be granted to Respondent if a written request for a hearing is received by the Department of Banking, Consumer Credit Division, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800 within fourteen (14) days following receipt of this Amended and Restated Notice of Intent to Refuse to Renew Mortgage Lender License and Notice of Right to Hearing as set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 36a-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This Amended and Restated Notice of Intent to Refuse to Renew Mortgage Lender License and Notice of Right to Hearing shall be deemed received on the earlier of the date of actual receipt, or seven days after mailing or sending.  The enclosed Appearance and Request for Hearing Form must be completed and mailed to the above address.  If Respondent will not be represented by an attorney at the hearing, please complete the Appearance and Request for Hearing Form as “pro se”.  Once a written request for hearing is received, the Commissioner may issue a notification of hearing and designation of hearing officer that acknowledges receipt of a request for a hearing, designates a hearing officer and sets the date of the hearing in accordance with Section 4-177 of the Connecticut General Statutes and Section 36a-1-21 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.  If a hearing is requested, the hearing will be held on December 16, 2010, at 10 a.m., at the Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut.
 
The hearing will be held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 54 of the Connecticut General Statutes, unless Respondent fails to appear at the requested hearing.  At such hearing, Respondent will have the right to appear and present evidence, rebuttal evidence and argument on all issues of fact and law to be considered by the Commissioner.
 
If Respondent does not request a hearing within the time prescribed, the Commissioner will issue an order refusing to renew Respondent’s license to engage in the business of a mortgage lender in Connecticut, which order shall cause Respondent’s mortgage lender license to be deemed EXPIRED.
 
Issued at Hartford, Connecticut
this 2nd day of November 2010.        ________/s/_________
                                                   Howard F. Pitkin
                                                   Banking Commissioner
 
 
CERTIFICATION
 
I hereby certify that on this 3rd day of November 2010, the foregoing Amended and Restated Notice of Intent to Refuse to Renew Mortgage Lender License and Notice of Right to Hearing was sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to Fairfield County Mortgage Group, Inc. d/b/a Fairfield Mortgage, Inc., Attention: John Wilson, Senior Vice President, 110 Prospect Street, Stamford, Connecticut 06901, registered mail no. RB028037513US.
 
 
 
                                                   ________/s/_________
                                                   Stacey Valerio
                                                   Prosecuting Attorney
 

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