SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today the historic uniting of five state agencies and programs into the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR). The merger will provide Illinois consumers and professionals with more efficiency and greater service for significantly less money in Fiscal Year 2005. The newly consolidated agency will include the Office of Banks and Real Estate, Department of Financial Institutions, Department of Insurance and Department of Professional Regulation and administration of the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).
DFPR spending plan sets expenditure levels at $85.8 million. The former agencies that constitute the new agency were budgeted for a combined $99.8 million on a pro forma basis in FY04, and spent $91.9 million pro forma in FY03. Additionally, DFPR will discharge administrative functions for the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), further reducing statewide expenditures.
“Uniting these five agencies and programs provides an unprecedented opportunity to drive down costs without diminishing the service consumers and professionals have come to expect from these predecessors of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation,” said the new director DFPR Fernando E. Grillo.
Despite spending many fewer dollars than its predecessors, DFPR will be able to do what its predecessors did – and more – through:
- Streamlining regulatory bureaucracy and reducing costs by eliminating duplicative functions at the five agencies and programs;
- Modernizing examination and audit processes for regulated industries to increase automation, ensure timely completion and enable fee and penalty correspondence to be generated more efficiently;
- Reviewing work schedules to focus on productivity and accountability;
In addition to providing the services of its predecessors, DFPR will undertake several new initiatives in FY05 including:
Combating predatory lending and abuse of borrowers by developing a registration examination combined with an application review and background check under the High Risk Home Loan Act;
- Expanding outreach efforts for CHIP to those who are unemployed and to areas affected by job loss due to plant closings or downsizing;
- Making CHIP’s on-line enrollment process available to all potential participants;
- Compiling a database of minority news media outlets in the Hispanic, African American and Asian markets to permit greater outreach to communities that have been historically underserved by state government;
- Improving public knowledge of complaint resolution resources and awareness of the availability and nature of consumer protection programs;
- Identifying refinements to regulatory statutes and rules to improve efficiency and compliance.
“I am looking forward to working with the new DFPR to meet the challenge of delivering more for less to the consumers and professionals of Illinois,” Director Grillo said.
The new DFPR will oversee the regulation and licensure of banks and financial institutions, real estate businesses and professionals, insurance companies and various licensed professions; enforces standards of professional practice; and protects the rights of Illinois residents in their transactions with regulated industries. The CHIP program provides access to health insurance coverage for eligible Illinois residents who can afford, but are unable to find, adequate health insurance coverage in the private market due to pre-existing health conditions or disabilities.