News Release

Commissioner Holly C. Bakke

For Immediate Release:   September 17, 2002

For Further Information::   Mary Caffrey or Mary Cozzolino - (609)292-5064


NEWARK, N.J. - Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly C. Bakke today opened the Department's new Newark Consumer Center, a satellite office where consumers can seek help with problems in banking, insurance, or real estate. The center, located in the Robert N. Wilentz Court Complex, will also serve as an education center for consumers.

"Consumers need to know that we are here to help," said Commissioner Bakke. "Today, we are giving consumers one more place to go for that help."

Bakke noted that the Newark Consumer Center is in a downtown location easily reached by public transportation. Department staff will be on hand to answer questions, help solve problems, or take formal complaints. For example, residents can learn how to shop for auto insurance, what rights they have when dealing with health insurers, or whether a lender or real estate broker has a current license.

Consumers can also learn how to find important information on the Department's Web site. The center will feature a public computer for those who lack access to the Internet.

In the future, the center will offer programs on how to avoid insurance and Medicare fraud, identity theft, predatory lending, and home-repair scams. "These are problems that ultimately lead to higher insurance costs and banking fees for everyone, but they hit hardest on many urban residents," Bakke said. "We already present these programs to civic groups and senior associations, but having a permanent North Jersey location will help us reach even more residents."

Banking Director H. Robert Tillman joined Commissioner Bakke for the opening. "This center is an important part of our efforts to help consumers avoid predatory lending practices," Tillman said. "Consumers can file complaints here, but better yet, we will offer programs to teach them how to avoid trouble before it starts."

The center is located at 153 Halsey Street, 2nd floor and the telephone number is (973) 648-4713.

The Department of Banking and Insurance opened its Newark Consumer Center on September 17, 2002. At the ribbon-cutting are Assistant Commissioner Mary Caffrey (holding ribbon), Director of Banking H. Robert Tillman, Assemblyman William Payne, D-Newark, Commissioner Holly C. Bakke, consumer advocate Fredrica Bey of WISOMMM, and Calvin West, Executive Director of Gov. James E. McGreevey's Newark Office.
Director of Banking H. Robert Tillman
  Commissioner Holly C. Bakke