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Dept. of Banking and Insurance Acting Commissioner Says NJ Banking Industry is Healthy

10-24-12

After the economic downturn, banks have been criticized for their practices. But Ken Kobylowski, acting commissioner at the Department of Banking and Insurance, told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that New Jersey state chartered institutions are doing a very good job of getting loans out to qualified borrowers throughout the state and he sees the industry as healthy.

Kobylowski said the state’s financial institutions are doing well and his department didn’t have to pressure lenders to make loans available. “The New Jersey state chartered banks did an excellent job weathering the recession and the financial downturn that we just experienced,” he said. “By and large they’re well capitalized and well managed institutions.”

While Kobylowski said his regulatory authority only covers New Jersey state chartered banks, he believes all financial institutions for the most part are well capitalized and well managed.

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Banking in New Jersey is different than other states, according to Kobylowski, because it is a heavily banked state. “I think we’re only second to Connecticut in terms of average income per capita,” he said. “So we are a very, very attractive market for banks throughout the country to come here to bank.”

Kobylowski said the amount of items he comes across on a daily basis has been the biggest surprise since he started in his role as acting commissioner. “I was at the department for two years prior to the governor asking me to serve as commissioner so there haven’t been any surprises in that sense, just in the sense of how many things come across my desk on any particular day,” he said.

When asked what one aspect he would change, Kobylowski said, “I would love to see lower insurance costs and lower insurance premiums throughout the state for our residents. That would be the number one issue that I would like to see.”

Because New Jersey is densely populated with more vehicles and crashes, auto insurance premiums tend to be higher than other states, Kobylowski said, adding that health care costs also tend to be higher. “That’s a very, very difficult marketplace for our residents to be in,” he said.