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Ky.gov An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Public Protection Cabinet

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions 
 
What is the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)?
DFI is an agency within the Public Protection Cabinet that regulates state-chartered financial services. DFI is charged with licensing, chartering, examining and otherwise regulating the activities of state-chartered/licensed depository and nondepository financial institutions and individuals, including banks, trust companies, savings banks, credit unions, mortgage loan companies, mortgage loan individuals, consumer and industrial loan companies, check cashers and money transmitters. DFI also regulates the activities of individuals and firms who sell or provide advice on securities to Kentucky residents, including licensing securities firms and professionals, registering securities offerings, ensuring compliance with and enforcement of the state securities laws and the education of Kentucky investors.
 
Where is DFI located?
DFI's central office is located at 1025 Capital Center Drive, Suite 200, in Frankfort. Click for directions.
 
How do I submit an open records request?
All open records requests must be submitted in a written format, either by mail (DFI, 1025 Capital Center Drive, Suite 200, Frankfort, KY 40601), fax (502-573-8787), email or hand delivered. In addition to identifying the records sought, the requestor should provide a name, address, email and daytime phone number.  
 
Does DFI regulate credit cards?
No. DFI does not regulate credit cards. However, we offer some free brochures and links about using credit wisely on our Credit Help Web page.
 
Securities Questions (Investing)
 
Does DFI regulate investing?
Yes. DFI regulates Kentucky’s securities industry, including investment products and the people who sell them. Before investing, call DFI at 800-223-2579 to see if the investment and the person selling it are registered and if there have been any complaints filed.
 
How can I get more information on investing?
DFI has free brochures and links on types of investments, how to invest and keeping your money safe on our Investment Help Web page.
 
What is the difference between an investment adviser and a broker-dealer?
An investment adviser or investment adviser representative provides advice on a security or investment but cannot make any financial transactions. Investment advisers are usually paid through fees. A broker-dealer or broker-dealer agent can make a securities trade or transaction on behalf of a customer. Broker-dealers usually work on commission. A person can be registered as both an investment adviser and a broker-dealer. Investment advisers owe a greater legal duty to look out for their client’s best interest than broker-dealers. An investment adviser solicitor can refer a person to an investment adviser for a fee. For more information, read more detailed definitions [DOC 36KB] of securities terms.
 
What should I do if I want to file a complaint against a securities entity, individual or offering regulated by your agency?
Email Jesse Vaughn or call 502-782-9055. You will be required to make a formal, written complaint
 
Financial Institutions Questions (Banking and Lending) 
 
Does DFI regulate banks?
Yes. DFI’s Depository Division is responsible for chartering and regulating Kentucky’s state-chartered banks, bank trust departments, independent trust companies, bank holding companies and banks' information systems.
 
How do I know if a bank or credit union is state-chartered?
Generally, if a bank has the word "national" or the initials "NA" in its name, DFI has no regulatory authority over it. The same usually holds true for credit unions that have the word "federal" in their name. A "national" bank is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and a "federal" credit union is regulated by the National Credit Union Administration. However, if you have a question about a financial institution and you do not know whether it is a state-chartered or licensed institution, contact DFI at 800-223-2579 for assistance or use the Search for a Licensee.
 
Do lenders have to be licensed in Kentucky?
Yes. DFI’s Nondepository Division regulates mortgage loan companies/brokers and individuals. Before signing a mortgage loan document, call DFI at 800-223-2579 or use the Search for a Licensee to see if the lender/broker is registered and if there have been any complaints filed. Also, DFI licenses consumer loan companies, industrial loan companies, check cashing/deferred deposit companies (also known as payday lenders) and money transmitters.
 
What is a payday loan?
A payday loan, also called a deferred deposit, is issued when a financial institution (a payday lender or check casher) agrees to provide cash in the amount of the customer’s next expected payroll check for a fee. Lenders may not issue a customer more than two payday loans totaling $500 at a time. Internet payday loans are illegal in the state of Kentucky.
 
How can I get more information on borrowing?
DFI has free brochures and links about mortgage loans, credit cards and avoiding predatory lending on our Credit Help Web page.
  
What should I do if I want to file a complaint against a bank, credit union, lender or other financial institution regulated by your agency?
Email Chad Harlan or call at 502-782-9038. You will be required to make a formal, written complaint.
 
When do financial institutions need to use the form called Notification to Homeowners of the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center?
For more information and other frequently asked questions about this form, visit DFI's Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center information Web page.