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New York State Banking Department Enhances State Charter with Amended ‘Wild Card’ Authorizations

October 23 , 2007

New York, NY: In ongoing efforts to enhance the value of the state charter, the New York State Banking Department issued an Industry Letter highlighting Section 12-a of the New York State Banking Law. Section 12-a, which provides so-called Wild Card authorization and was effective last month, gives New York State-chartered banking organizations, as well as licensed foreign bank branches and agencies, enhanced access to powers possessed by counterpart federally-chartered banking institutions. 

Under the enhanced law, Wild Card authorization can now be adopted by resolution of the Banking Board, as opposed to the previous far more time consuming process of regulatory change. Wild Card authorizations may include any right, power, privilege, benefit, activity, loan, investment or transaction that a federally-chartered banking institution, directly or through a subsidiary or subsidiaries, may lawfully exercise or engage in. 

“The adoption of Section 12-a is a big step in ensuring the competitiveness of New York State-chartered banking institutions,” said Banking Superintendent Richard H. Neiman. “Federal preemption of state laws over the past few years has limited state authority to address some critical issues and in some cases limited state laws designed to protect New Yorkers.”

In addition to accepting proposals from regulated institutions, the Superintendent has the ability to make recommendations that he feels will enhance the state charter and benefit the vitality of New York State-regulated institutions and their consumers. “We are actively looking at a number of potential Wild Card proposals that I will personally bring the Banking Board for resolution,” Neiman said. “I encourage the institutions we regulate to review their options under this law and submit applications for consideration.”

Whether the proposal comes from the industry or directly from the Superintendent, the Wild Card power must be subject to the same terms and conditions applied to the federally-chartered banking institution. The Superintendent may also require additional terms and conditions which he finds necessary and appropriate. In addition to benefiting the institution that submitted the application, approved applications may be made applicable to one or more additional state-chartered banking institutions of the same type as the original applicant or applicants.

TheNew York State Banking Department is the regulator for all state-chartered banking institutions, virtually all of the United States offices of international banking institutions, all of the State’s mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, check cashers, money transmitters and budget planners.  The aggregate assets of the depository institutions supervised by the Banking Department are more than $1.8 trillion.

In addition to regulating banking institutions, the Banking Department is active in informing and educating all New Yorkers on banking matters.  To contact the Banking Department, please call 1-877-BANK-NYS or visit our Web site at

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