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North Carolina banks were first authorized by the General Assembly in 1804, when a charter was granted to establish the Bank of Cape Fear. Until 1887, oversight of state banks was limited to the General Assembly.
In 1887, state banks began to be supervised by the State Treasurer. At first, supervision was limited to a requirement that the banks provide annual reports to the State Treasurer, however, in 1889 and 1891, legislation was passed to create a formal examination process for banks.
The examination responsibility was transferred to the Corporation Commission in 1899. In 1921, a banking department was established within the Corporation Commission.
In 1931, oversight of banks was transferred to the newly created State Banking Department and the first State Banking Commissioner was appointed. Gurney Pope Hood served as Commissioner from 1931 to 1951.
In 1939, the first State Banking Commission was established with seven members.
In 1998, the N.C. Bank Directors’ College was established under Commissioner Hal D. Lingerfelt. The intensive training program, offered annually by the N.C. Office of the Commissioner of Banks, is only the second of its kind in the nation. It was intended to target newly appointed bank directors, but it has proven to be of great value to directors of all experience levels (in 2006, Advanced Directors College was introduced). The school was developed from planning sessions with members of state and federal banking agencies, college professors, and banking industry professionals.
In 2001, the Savings and Loans Division was merged into the N.C. Office of the Commissioner of Banks (NCCOB). See Session Law 2001-193.
In 2002, Commissioner, Joseph A. Smith, Jr., was appointed by Gov. Michael Easley.
The Mortgage Lending Act took effect in 2002, requiring companies and individuals making mortgage loans to be registered by NCCOB.
North Carolina has some of the toughest anti-predatory lending laws in the country. It was also the first state to ban payday lenders in 2005 with the Advance America case involving NCCOB and the NC Department of Justice. See Consumer Industries Enforcement Actions.
In 2007, Commissioner Joseph A. Smith, Jr., was appointed to a second term by Governor Easley.
In 2008, the N.C. General Assembly directed the NCCOB to implement a foreclosure prevention program for N.C. homeowners with subprime mortgages. See SESSION LAW 2008-226. In 2010, the program was expanded to help all homeowners facing foreclosure, not just those with subprime mortgages. See SESSION LAW 2010-168. Led by the NCCOB, the State Foreclosure Prevention Project was the first foreclosure prevention effort of its kind, and has helped thousands avoid foreclosure.
NCCOB led in the conception, development, and implementation of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System which streamlines the licensing process for both regulatory agencies and the mortgage industry by providing a centralized and standardized system for mortgage licensing in all states. NMLS is run by a subsidiary of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. NCCOB officially implemented the system in our state in 2008.
Due to the mortgage crisis, Congress passed the SAFE Act in 2009, requiring all states to enforce the Act. The 2002 Mortgage Lending Act was replaced with the 2009 NC SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act.
In 2011, Commissioner Joseph A. Smith, Jr., was appointed to a third term by Governor Bev Perdue.
In February 2012, Commissioner Joseph A. Smith, Jr., resigned to serve as monitor of a landmark national foreclosure settlement with the five largest mortgage loan servicers (Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup, Inc., and Ally Financial, Inc. (formerly GMAC)). He would oversee the roughly $25 billion settlement that calls for the servicers to provide relief to struggling homeowners.
In February 2012, Chief Deputy Ray Grace became Acting Commissioner upon the departure of Commissioner Joseph A. Smith, Jr. Governor Bev Perdue nominated Grace to serve as Commissioner and to serve the remainder of Smith’s term through March 31, 2015.