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State regulators issue cease-and-desist orders
to subsidiaries of Ocwen Financial Corp.

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and more than 20 other state regulators today issued regulatory orders or charges to subsidiaries of Ocwen Financial Corp. to address violations of state and federal laws including the mishandling of consumer escrow accounts, unlicensed activity, and a deficient financial condition. Mortgage escrow accounts are utilized to pay taxes and insurance and hold borrower funds that the company is entrusted to appropriately disburse.

The majority of orders prohibit the acquisition of new mortgage servicing rights and the origination of mortgage loans until the company is able to prove it can appropriately manage its existing mortgage escrow accounts and not further harm consumers.

The orders are the culmination of several years of examinations and monitoring that revealed the company is mismanaging consumer mortgage escrow accounts. The company has also operated unlicensed mortgage servicing facilities in certain states in apparent violation of state licensing statutes over a period of several years.

See the full press release and FAQ here.

Milton High School hosts meeting
of Governor's Council on Financial Literacy

DFI Secretary Jay Risch, second from left, and DFI staff participated in a meeting of the Governor's Council on Financial Literacy at Milton High School on April 17. Milton in 2016 was the recipient of a DFI grant for $10,000 that enabled the district to implement a course in personal finance as a graduation requirement. Principal Jeremy Bilhorn, staff members Amy Kenyon and Nic Manogue, and students Brittany Churchwell and Emily Holden provided the council with an overview of the high school's financial literacy initiatives, curriculum and vision for the students' education and the impact on the community as a whole.

Also at the meeting, Heather Greenwell, Outreach Program Team Lead, Public Affairs of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, provided the council with an overview of the Chicago Fed's financial literacy mission. She also thanked the council for its commitment to financial literacy education and for its leadership role in the annual Money Smart Week Wisconsin, which will be celebrated April 22-29 as proclaimed by Governor Scott Walker earlier this year.

The Governor's Council was created by Governor Walker in 2011 with Executive Order #24. The mission of the Council is to measurably improve the financial literacy of Wisconsin's citizens and serve as a continuous sounding board for the Office of the Governor and the DFI's Office of Financial Literacy.

New business entity filings
tracking 6.9% ahead of prior year

MADISON - The number of new business entities formed in Wisconsin in the first three months of 2017 grew by 6.9% compared to same period in 2016, according to data compiled by the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). As of March 31, 2017, new business filings totaled 12,183 compared to 11,395 in the same period in 2016.

The business formation data is compiled by DFI, which is the filing office for the creation of business entities in the state. DFI tracks new business entity creation on a monthly basis and posts the data on its website. The full report may be found at

Money Smart Week® Wisconsin
scheduled for April 22-29

MADISON - Dozens of communities across the state will participate in Money Smart Week® Wisconsin April 22-29 with events focused on improving the personal financial awareness and education of Wisconsin citizens.

Money Smart Week® Wisconsin is the highlight of April being national financial literacy awareness month, a collaborative effort by state and federal agencies and private-sector groups to raise awareness about the importance of financial literacy.

The Governor's Council on Financial Literacy, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, is spearheading Money Smart Week® Wisconsin, the celebration of which was proclaimed by Governor Scott Walker earlier this year.

See the full press release here.

Senate committee holds
confirmation hearing for DFI Secretary

DFI Secretary Jay Risch testified at his Senate confirmation hearing on March 9 before the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues. The committee and full state Senate must approve Risch's appointment for it to be official. At the hearing, Risch gave committee members an overview of DFI's responsibilities to ensure the safety and soundness of state-chartered financial institutions, to protect consumers and the investing public, and to enhance the viability and accessibility of the state's business record-keeping system - the key planks of DFI's mission statement. Risch, a native of Oconomowoc, also recapped his professional career, which has included time as a policy advisor to Governor Scott McCallum, working on the staffs of Senators Alberta Darling and Cathy Stepp, nearly five years as Director of Government Relations for the Wisconsin Bankers Association, and two years as a deputy secretary at the Department of Safety and Professional Services and DFI.