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DFI Secretary named to PSC;
Deputy Secretary elevated to top spot

DFI Secretary Lon Roberts has been appointed to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) and Deputy Secretary Jay Risch has been elevated to DFI Secretary, Governor Scott Walker announced today (Feb. 23, 2017). DFI Assistant Deputy Secretary Alex Ignatowski also will join the PSC as an Executive Assistant to incoming Commissioner Roberts. The changes are effective March 6, 2017.

Roberts was appointed DFI Secretary in February 2016. Prior to joining DFI, Roberts worked for more than 40 years at the Ruder Ware law firm in Wausau, where he served as President for 11 years and concentrated his practice in business and commercial law, primarily in the areas of corporate mergers and acquisitions, finance, lending, and private equity capital transactions.

Risch was appointed Deputy Secretary of DFI in July 2015 after having served in the same capacity at the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). He previously served as a policy advisor to Governor Scott McCallum and on the staffs of State Senators Cathy Stepp and Alberta Darling. Risch also was the Director of Government Relations for the Wisconsin Bankers Association from 2010 until February 2015.

Ignatowski was appointed Assistant Deputy Secretary in July 2015. He previously worked for the Department of Health Services as a Legislative Advisor and in the Office of Governor Walker as the Director of Operations and Assistant to the Chief of Staff.

DFI Secretary backs pilot project
to establish designated WI business court

Secretary Lon Roberts (left) and nine others testified before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Feb. 16 in support of a pilot project that would establish a designated business court in Wisconsin. If approved by the Supreme Court, the pilot project would create a business court docket in Waukesha County and the seven-county Eighth Judicial District until 2020, after which a determination would be made whether to expand the business court statewide. Many other states have established such specialty courts, with the goal being to more efficiently and effectively handle large claim business and commercial cases.

Others who testified in favor of the business court pilot project were: left to right: Lucas Vebber, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce; the Honorable James Morrison, Marinette County; Laura Brenner, a Milwaukee attorney; Mike Crowley, Waukesha County Board of Supervisors; John Rothstein, a partner with Quarles & Brady LLP; the Honorable Michael Aprahamian, Waukesha County; the Honorable Michael Fitzpatrick, Rock County; Randy Brotherhood, Wisconsin State Bar Association; and Brick Murphy, Wisconsin State Bar Association.

State's college affordability website
adds Educator section, other enhancements

MADISON - A new resource for Wisconsin educators has been added to the college affordability website that was launched last year by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The website, www.lookforwardwi.gov, is part of DFI's initiative to raise the awareness level of the importance of planning ahead for college. The website provides resources for current and future college students and their parents - and now, educators - to help keep students' debt load manageable. The website is a key component of DFI's college affordability/student debt initiative, which was announced last year by Governor Scott Walker.

See the entire release in our Press Room.

Roberts addresses WBA conference,
cites strong performance by state banks

DFI Secretary Lon Roberts was a featured speaker at the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) annual Bank Executives Conference in Milwaukee on Feb. 7. Secretary Roberts stated that Wisconsin banks have rebounded nicely from the challenges posed by the 2008 Recession, and in most cases state banks are thriving. "In many respects, your institutions are the financial backbone of the communities you serve and you are an integral part of an ever-improving Wisconsin economy," Roberts said. The Secretary also spoke about DFI's ongoing outreach efforts to stakeholder groups and of the Department's commitment to making government more accountable. He also congratulated the WBA, which this year is celebrating its 125th year of working on behalf of Wisconsin banks.

Net income, lending up in 2016
for state-chartered credit unions

MADISON - Wisconsin's 143 state-chartered credit unions ended 2016 with a 16.9% gain in net income and a 9.9% jump in lending compared to 2015, according to data released today by the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

In the year ending Dec. 31, 2016:

  • Net income totaled $329.2 million, up from $281.6 million in 2015.
  • Total loans were $24.4 billion, up from $22.2 billion.
  • Net worth was 11.08%, up from 10.97%.
  • The delinquent loan ratio was 0.75%, down from 0.81%.

See the entire release in our Press Room.