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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Law provides: The department is responsible for the regulation of financial service industries in Minnesota including insurance, state-chartered banks, credit unions, securities, and real estate. The department also licenses residential building contractors, collection agencies, and currency exchanges. The department is also responsible for enforcement of public utilities commission rules and orders, regulation of natural gas and electric public utilities, energy conservation standards and information programs, regulation of telephone companies, and the administration of Telecommunications Access Minnesota (TAM), the petrofund, and unclaimed property programs. (Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 216A, 216B, 216C; 45–56, 59A, 168.66, 239, 332; 45, 60–79; 45, 80, 237; 306, 332, 501; 82–83; 345; 115C; Minnesota Rules 2600–2899, 7600–02, 7603–7799, 7810–7835)

Commissioner: Glenn Wilson, Jr. 
Appointed: 2003  
Salary: $108,400

85 E. 7th Pl., Suite 500, St. Paul, 55101
(651)296-4026; TTY (651)297-3067
Web site: www.commerce.state.mn.us

Deputy Commissioner, Energy and Telecommunications: Edward Garvey
Deputy Commissioner, Market Assurance: Patrick Nelson
Deputy Commissioner, Financial Exams: Kevin Murphy
Acting Director, Weights & Measures: Carol Hockert
Assistant Commissioner, Administration: Mike Blacik

Function: The department is responsible for seeing that Minnesota’s laws to protect consumer interests and ensure uniform, fair rules in business are observed in the industries of banking, energy, insurance, real estate, securities, and telecommunications. The responsibilities of each division within the department vary depending on the structure of that division’s industry and its requirements. Some divisions focus on licensing or analyzing insurance policies, while others advocate on behalf of the public interest. By closely monitoring these industries, the department is aware of new developments and issues that may call for reform of existing laws or enactment of new measures. The department, therefore, often leads in developing policies and proposing legislative changes to meet new conditions and challenges.

Energy Division collects and analyzes data on energy and develops policies to ensure economically and environmentally sound energy supplies for the state. The division represents the public interest before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and federal regulatory agencies, reviews utility supply plans and conservation programs, develops standards, and promotes energy conservation and renewable energy technologies.

Telecommunications Division regulates the state’s telephone industry to ensure quality, reliable service at fair prices. It represents the public interest before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and enforces the commission’s orders and statutory requirements. It collects and analyzes data and develops policies to encourage a sound and competitive telecommunications industry.

Market Assurance Division receives calls and investigates complaints from consumers regarding residential building contractors, insurance, securities, real estate, mortgage originators, franchises, collection agencies, and currency exchanges. Each year the staff responds to over 70,000 complaints, and most are resolved informally and within a short time. About 9,000 complaints are investigated formally. The division also maintains and enforces the state’s Do Not Call list. By January 2, 2003, over 1 million consumers had registered on the list to reduce telemarketing calls.

In addition to enforcement activities, the division has three other areas of responsibility:

Policy Analysis Unit reviews insurance company policy forms and rates and licenses companies.

Licensing Unit licenses over 270,000 individuals and business entities, including franchises, insurance, securities, real estate, mortgage origination, notary public, residential building, debt collection, and currency exchange.

Registration Unit reviews applications for common stock, limited partnerships, investment company securities, preferred stock, bonds and other debt securities, corporate takeovers, subdivided land, and camping memberships and franchises.

Financial Examinations Division examines state-chartered banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and other financial institutions. The division analyzes current information on the financial condition of each institution and provides guidance in taking regulatory action to protect consumers.

Weights and Measures Division checks the accuracy of all commercial weighing and measuring equipment in Minnesota, from gas pumps to grain elevators to grocery scales. The division also offers precision measurement services, inspects packaged commodities, and monitors the quality and correct labeling of petroleum products.

The department also administers the following programs:

Unclaimed Property Program seeks to match individuals with their unclaimed properties retrieved from safe deposit boxes and security-related holdings, including savings accounts, uncashed paychecks, traveler’s checks, stock, insurance, and uncashed tax refunds. This year the department is trying to locate 40,000 individuals and businesses to claim abandoned property worth $50 million.

Petrofund Program provides staff assistance to the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board. The Petrofund was created in 1987 to reimburse costs of cleaning up spills and leaks from tanks containing petroleum products.

Telecommunications Access Minnesota Program determines eligibility standards for assistive communication devices and maintains a statewide toll-free telecommunication relay service to enhance communications between individuals using telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) and individuals using standard telephones through assistance of a specially trained telephone relay operator.

Last updated: 6/1/2009 2:52:59 PM