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House banking chair says state's banking system in good shape

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Consumer outreach, few housing foreclosures and educational programs are just some of the things about the state's banking system that make Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell, think banking is doing well in West Virginia.

"I think the outlook for state-charted banks and banks in general doing business in West Virginia is really, really good," said Moore, who is the chairman of the House Banking Committee.

As someone who watches the banking industry closely, Moore said he's satisfied with what he sees. In his opinion, the state's banking industry doesn't need added legislative regulations — the industry is doing just fine on its own.

"Unless there's some very serious or pressing federal legislation, I don't predict any earth-shattering legislation coming out of the committee this term," Moore said. "I think our banks have done a wonderful job … I think we're in good shape."

Moore is scheduled to meet with the Division of Financial Institutions before the 2013 legislative session begins in February to get an idea of what officials there think the Legislature needs to address. But, he said, there's nothing in particular on his radar. That's partly because West Virginia's banks have been ahead of the curve when it comes to federal legislation.

"Most of our banks in West Virginia have been beyond and before the curve before anything hit that forced them to do something," he said. "We've been out front in terms of regulatory requirements, good practices and good policies. I think we'll maintain that throughout 2013 and 2014."

Moore pointed out that most banks in West Virginia are small, community banks, not national conglomerates. That means the state's banks are more likely to be customer-friendly and participate in educational programs for students and seniors.

"I want to make it a point to consumers that banking industry in West Virginia is very stable," Moore said. "I think our history reflects that. I think we'll maintain the course."

On the Senate side, the banking committee is undergoing some change.

Senate Banking and Insurance Committee chairman Sen. Joe Minard, D-Harrison, resigned from the Senate to become Senate Clerk. Sen. Mark Willis, D-Mercer, served as vice-chairman, but he lost his re-election bid in November.

According to the West Virginia Senate, the Democratic committee from Minard's district will select candidates to replace him in the Senate. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin then will choose a replacement from those three candidates. 

Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, will decide who to appoint as chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee. 

The 2013 legislative session begins Feb. 13.