Kenneth E. Kobylowski, the man set to take the reins when Commissioner Thomas Considine steps down early next month, brings a breadth of experience in both banking and insurance to his new post, Gov. Chris Christie said this morning in the official announcement.
"He's a person of considerable talent, great expertise in this area, and accomplishment," Christie said during this morning's announcement that Considine will resign effective Feb. 10.
Kobylowski, who has served as the commissioner's chief of staff since February 2010 and as acting director of banking since October 2011, said he will focus on implementing regulations from the federal Dodd-Frank law, with an eye on making sure that both smaller and larger banks are treated fairly.
"It seems to me that it does not make sense that regulations that are imposed on an institution of $10 billion or $20 billion or $50 billion would work on an institution of $50 million or $100 million," he said, adding that they would swamp the smaller banks.
Kobylowski, who also serves as chief operating officer of the department, said implementing insurance regulations and real estate continuing education would also be priorities.
Considine, who is leaving to return to the private sector, will become chief operating officer of MagnaCare. He will join a long list of cabinet members who have left the Christie administration in recent months, including Rich Bagger, former chief of staff; Paula Dow, former attorney general; Lori Grifa, who headed the Department of Community Affairs; and Lee Solomon, previously president of the Board of Public Utilities.
NJBIZ first reported in its Grapevine column in November that Considine would be leaving his post.
Considine has been widely praised for fashioning a more effective and efficient environment at DOBI, while creating a more user- and business-friendly climate within the department and still remaining focused on protecting consumers.
"In two years, in no small measure because of Tom's leadership, New Jersey's regulatory climate and reputation in the banking sector have improved tremendously, and I've heard this from across both the banking and insurance industries about Tom," Christie said.
Insurance and banking industry professionals cite a long list of substantive accomplishments by DOBI under Considine's leadership, among them the repeal or effective repeal of nearly two dozen burdensome regulations and the upcoming publication of proposed PIP, or personal injury protection insurance coverage, reforms, a hot-button issue in the state for years that remains unresolved.
Christie said 59 new insurers entered the state and 64 others expanded their authority during Considine's two years at the helm of the department.
"He revised the government unit deposit banking regulation, reformed New Jersey's reinsurance and surplus lines laws, and was instrumental in establishing our captive insurance market," Christie said. "He also launched the bureau of fraud deterrence at DOBI, making the fight against civil insurance fraud a key component of DOBI's everyday activities."
In 2010, Considine left his private-sector job as vice president and government relations counsel at insurer MetLife Inc. to become the state's top banking and insurance regulator.
MagnaCare CEO and President Joseph Berardo Jr. said Considine would take over his new post in March.
"We are truly fortunate to welcome a man of Tom's caliber to our executive team, and anticipate that his experience in both public and private sectors will be extremely valuable to furthering MagnaCare's leadership position in self-insurance for employers," Berardo said.
Considine is known to be close friends with the man set to take the reins when he steps down — Considine hired Kobylowski when he joined Christie's cabinet in 2010.
Kobylowski, a lawyer, previously worked as counsel at Herrick, Feinstein, LLP, of Newark and New York, and an associate at Connell, Foley and Geiser of Roseland.
Kobylowski began his career as a bank analyst at The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the 1980s before attending New York Law School, graduating cum laude in 1989. He holds a bachelor's in finance from Seton Hall University, where he graduated magna cum laude.