A plan to unify Maryland's financial regulators under a single director would eliminate a number of high-ranking positions and save $500,000 over the next four years, Secretary of Licensing and Regulation William A. Fogle Jr. said yesterday.
In a plan to be presented today to the Senate Finance Committee, Mr. Fogle said, he will unveil a series of cost-cutting steps that include combining into a single division Maryland's Office of the Bank Commissioner, the Office of Consumer Credit and the Financial Audit Services Team.
The moves, he said in an interview yesterday, were made necessary by a state budgetary crunch that is expected to cut $2.5 million from his department's spending allowance in fiscal 1992 and 54 jobs from his payroll.
The department's budget for next year is planned at $34 million, with 692 positions authorized.
About 50 of those positions, however, are currently vacant and are not expected to be filled next year, Mr. Fogle said.
"We're putting on our thinking caps to save and protect those things we have," Mr. Fogle said.
The consolidation of the division of financial regulation, Mr. Fogle said, is the first of a number of steps planned by the department.
It is projected to save his department about $500,000 over the next four years with about $200,000 of that amount coming during the first year through lower leasing costs after the division completes its move to the department's headquarters within 90 days.
Under the terms of the proposed consolidation, the director of savings and loans -- a one-person agency that oversees the two remaining state-chartered thrifts in Maryland -- would be moved into the bank commissioner's office.
The budget of the bank commissioner's office is marked to be pared to $479,000 in 1992 from $640,000 this year.
Under Mr. Fogle's plan, the position of deputy bank commissioner would be eliminated, as well as two assistant commissioners inside the office of consumer credit and the deputy director at the Financial Audit Services Team, a pool of auditors assigned to work for the division's other agencies.
The commissioners of banking, consumer credit, the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund Corp. and the audit team would report directly to the division's director rather than Mr. Fogle as is currently the practice.
"It doesn't make sense to have two high-priced people when they don't have a staff," Mr. Fogle said of the two assistant commissioners in the office of consumer credit, who, together with the commissioner, compose the entire agency.