Governor Kitzhaber Nominates Patrick Allen to Direct DCBS
December 12, 2011
December 13, 2011
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s nominee to direct the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) has something to ask of credit union leadership.
“I need absolutely to learn more,” Patrick Allen said when asked what he will need from credit unions if confirmed by the Oregon Senate.
The willingness of an agency director to listen may surprise some. Allen, after all, has an economics degree from Oregon State University, spent 10 years in the banking industry and is already very familiar with the DCBS, having been part of the agency since 2003. He humbly points out, however, that he has been responsible for construction regulation during most of that time.
“My early history was in banking,” he said, “but really having credit union partners who can take time to help me understand and partner with would be good.”
Allen is aware of a concern some credit union management has that regulation takes a “one-size-fits-all approach” to the financial services industry.
That approach “doesn’t make sense for credit unions or for state-chartered banks versus big national banks,” Allen noted. “The issue really needs to be the behavior we want more of—or less of.”
Allen believes regulation can be designed to suit a specific industry, and that it can even be further individualized to meet the needs of different segments of those industries.
“I think, fortunately, we’ve got regulatory professionals who can assess the climate and tailor the needs to fit the industry,” Allen said.
The DCBS is Oregon’s largest regulatory agency with oversight of workers’ compensation, occupational safety and health, insurance, building codes and financial services. The agency’s mission is “to protect and serve Oregon’s consumers and workers while supporting a positive business climate in the state.”
If confirmed, Allen plans no wholesale changes. Having a front row seat at the agency for the past eight years, he feels it is well run, but added, “We need to have a hard focus on how to do what we do more efficiently.”
Governor Kitzhaber announced Allen’s selection Dec. 7.
“Patrick brings a wealth of experience and a demonstrated track record of leadership in both the public and private sectors to this important position,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “His skills will help advance key initiatives involving Oregon consumers, workers and businesses.”
Allen responded to that praise saying he is “truly honored to have the governor’s confidence to take on the challenge.”
As for credit unions, he noted they are “a huge part of the financial services consumers depend on. It’s an industry under pressure in this economy, but fundamentally it’s a stable and sound industry in Oregon,” Allen said.
“Our role is to be a transparent and thoughtful and careful regulator of the industry as we move forward and to take into account the impact of what we do,” Allen said.
Allen said his priorities will be transparency and predictability to better serve the consumers the agency protects and the businesses it regulates.
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