The Bureau of Financial Institutions' responsibilities include:
- investigating and recommending action on applications to the Commission for new state financial institution charters and branches of existing institutions
- analyzing and monitoring the financial condition of state-chartered banks, savings institutions, and credit unions to ascertain their soundness. This includes examining these institutions at least one every three years. (Please note: some institutions in Virginia are regulated by federal agencies because they are organized under federal laws. These institutions use the words or initials "national," , "N.A.,", "FSB", "F.S.", "F.A.", or "Federal" in their names)
- reviewing applications filed with the SCC to merge financial institutions in Virginia and administering interstate bank acquisitions
- licensing and examining mortgage lenders and brokers. (The bureau can also recommend license revocation)
- licensing and regulating companies engaging in money transmission and/or money order sales (money transmitters), consumer finance (small loan) companies, and credit counseling agencies; registering check cashers and industrial loan associations
The bureau is divided into five sections:
- Banks and Savings Institutions - examines and supervises state-chartered banks and thrift institutions. Also handles consumer complaints.
- Consumer Finance - examines and supervises industrial loan associations, consumer finance companies, mortgage lenders and brokers, credit counseling agencies, money transmitters and check cashers. Also handles consumer complaints.
- Credit Unions - examines and supervises state-chartered credit unions. Also handles consumer complaints.
- Corporate Structure and Research - investigates applications filed with the SCC by banks and other financial services companies, and conducts economic research.
- Administration and Finance - provides logistical support to the regulatory sections, administers human resource, financial and automated operations, maintains Bureau records.
The bureau has staff specially trained in investigating problems in areas of its jurisdiction. Institutions licensed by the SCC through the bureau face disciplinary action, such as fines, for violations of state law. The Commission may revoke an institution's license.
The Bureau of Financial Institutions responds daily to inquiries related to state-chartered financial services companies, such as banks or savings institutions and consumer finance companies, as well as questions about other areas in the bureau's jurisdiction.