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New York launches its own 'mini CFPB'

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New York has created a statewide financial protection division that will focus solely on corporate compliance and consumer issues, following similar efforts by New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The New York State Department of Financial Services on Monday named Katherine A. Lemire, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to be executive deputy superintendent of the agency's newly created Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement division.

Lemire had been a partner at StoneTurn, a New York consulting firm, and before that founded a risk and compliance business that merged with StoneTurn. She also spent four years as counsel and principal adviser to former New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Acting DFS Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell called Lemire “a highly respected and experienced prosecutor” and said the division “will be a powerhouse” that will guard against financial crises and protect consumers and markets from fraud.

States have been looking to take on a bigger role in consumer protection since Republicans took control of the agency in late 2017. Federal CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger has questioned the need for public enforcement actions, focusing on education and prevention rather than enforcement. Enforcement actions at the bureau have plummeted 80% under GOP control, according to a study by the Consumer Federation of America.

The New York State Department of Financial Services has rolled a number of other units into the new consumer division, including investigations and intelligence, civil investigations, student protection and a Holocaust claims processing office.

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