87th Texas Legislature 87.19

Issue 19 – June 7th

On or about June 21st (after the Governor’s veto deadline), our final 87th Texas Legislative update will bring you a more focused summary of what changes in law might enter your daily lives as a mortgage originator in Texas. As a preview, although there were several important items, most of them are of a peripheral nature to Texas residential mortgage licensees. This week’s memo shifts gears to discuss the biggest direct regulatory impact on the industry and the Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending.

SML Commissioner Caroline Jones Retirement

On Friday June 4th, Commissioner Caroline Jones announced to the Finance Commission of Texas, her plans to retire effective this August 31st. I had the privilege of hiring Caroline 12 years ago as General Counsel at SML and working closely with her for five years. She has always brought a deliberate and collaborative approach to both her regulatory supervision and staff management. She has prioritized agency outreach and engagement with the industries. Caroline has had several major external challenges during her tenure and successfully navigated the agency to its current sound standing.

Major Restructure

In the past six months, Caroline has engineered a restructuring of her direct reports following the retirement of two long time directors: Tony Florence over examinations and consumer complaints and Steven O’Shields over licensing. The new structure has only one person, William Purce, reporting directly to the commissioner for all of these functions with the exception of consumer complaint investigations which has been shifted to the legal division. William, as Director of Mortgage, is a recent hire but has extensive experience in both licensing and examinations with Texas OCCC. William will be supported by Chris Osuna, Licensing Manager, (a relatively new position) who came to the department last year from The Department of Insurance and Ellena Meier who directs mortgage examinations.

Replacement Process and Candidate Qualification

The eleven-member Finance Commission of Texas will appoint a search committee from its members. The statutory requirements for SML Commissioner require not less than five years' experience in the executive management of a savings association or savings bank or in savings association or savings bank supervision during the 10 years preceding the commissioner's appointment.

We congratulate Commissioner Jones and thank her for her oversight of the industries she regulated and her service to the citizens of Texas and wish her well in her future endeavors and more free time for bird watching.