The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is the state agency responsible for chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI oversees the following industries and individuals:
• State-chartered banks
• State-chartered trust companies
• State-chartered credit unions
• Savings and loan associations
• Consumer loan companies
• Industrial loan companies
• Mortgage loan companies
• Mortgage loan brokers
• Mortgage individuals
• Check cashers/deferred deposit companies
• Sellers of money orders
• Title pledge lenders
• Money transmitters
• State-registered securities
• Broker-dealers and agents
• Investment advisors and investment advisor representatives
• Issuer agents
• Student education loan servicers
A commissioner heads the department and is responsible for its overall administration. A deputy commissioner, general counsel and three division directors assist the commissioner. DFI’s functional divisions are Depository Institutions, Non-Depository Institutions and Securities.
The DFI Mission Statement
DFI's mission is to serve Kentucky residents and protect their financial interests by maintaining a stable financial industry, continuing effective and efficient regulatory oversight, promoting consumer confidence, encouraging economic opportunities, and promoting sound financial decisions through financial literacy and empowerment programs.
Putting the Mission to Work
In fulfilling its mission, DFI is dedicated to serving the suppliers and users of financial services and assuring a stable market that brings the two together.
DFI also works to promote economic growth through increased capital, whether by initial capitalization of private investors or retained earnings, and by flexible policies, laws and regulations that provide for competition within the industries.
The department determines if Kentucky’s state-regulated financial institutions and individuals are exercising safe and sound practices and/or complying with applicable laws and regulations. It does this primarily through the examination process.
DFI evaluates depository institutions in the areas of management, quality of assets, capital adequacy, earnings and liquidity, as well as compliance with laws and regulations. Securities and non-depository examiners focus primarily on regulatory compliance and consumer protection issues.
DFI’s highly skilled and diverse workforce continues a long tradition of public service and responds rapidly to changes in the financial environment.
A Brief History
The department traces its origin to the Banking Act of 1912, which initially established the agency as the Department of Banking. The act charged the department with enforcing laws related to banks, trust companies and savings banks doing business under Kentucky law.
The Legislature mandated supervision of state-chartered savings (building) and loan associations in 1918 and added state-chartered credit unions in 1922. When the agency began to oversee the state’s securities industry in 1932, it was renamed the Department of Banking and Securities.
Over the years, other regulatory responsibilities were added, including consumer and industrial loan companies in 1946, companies that sell money orders in 1966, mortgage loan companies and brokers in 1980 and check-cashing companies in 1992.
As the agency's scope increased over the years to include other types of financial institutions, its organizational structure and name also changed. It was renamed the Department of Financial Institutions in 1984.