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LANSING, Mich. – A quick glance at the news shows Michigan sharing with other states a major economic crunch – a $1.7 billion dollar deficit; cuts slamming colleges, communities, arts; concessions sought from state workers. But John Kolhoff, assistant director of the Office of Financial and Insurance Services’ Credit Union Division, says the agency is working to make sure the examination process continues. Kolhoff, who has worked for OFIS since 1994, was recently promoted to the post. His responsibilities include overseeing credit union examination and supervision functions. “Right now, certainly a priority is trying to provide resources to the examiners so we can continue to maintain our required examinations,” Kolhoff says. The state has been offering incentives to senior, more highly-paid employees to take early retirement. Restrictions have also been placed on filling the resulting vacancies. “Even though we are funded through the fees we charge the credit unions, the hiring freeze has affected us,” Kolhoff says. “But we’ve been able to get exceptions from that because of our status. A good deal of the work early on is replacing examiners who have left because of the early outs and allocating resources to make sure we get the job done.” Those resources, he adds, include training. He indicates he encourages credit unions with questions about the regulatory implications of any moves to contact the OFIS before acting. “Obviously I’ve got some work to do because I am from the banking side. I was a bank examiner for eight years before coming here. We have a qualified staff of supervisors and examiners, so I’m just getting up to speed with them,” Kolhoff says. The state’s financial institutions, including credit unions, are also awaiting word on another key OFIS post. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has named Linda Watters, president/CEO of Detroit Commerce Bank, as the agency’s new commissioner. That appointment is awaiting confirmation by the state senate. While not a giant among Michigan’s state agencies, the OFIS is responsible for regulating 275 credit unions, 143 banks, 31 HMOs, 175 domestic insurance companies, 1,300 foreign insurance companies, 2,164 securities broker-dealers, 6,000 consumer finance lenders, 75,000 insurance agents, 120,715 securities agents and 1,583 investment advisors. -

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