Payday lenders. Debt collectors. The digital currency Bitcoin. Those are a few of the latest targets of Benjamin Lawsky, head of New York's muscular Department of Financial Services and one of the country's busiest banking regulators.
Since becoming superintendent of the consolidated financial services watchdog two years ago, Lawsky has cut a profile as one of the most aggressive cops on the banking and financial services beat. He has fined foreign banks over allegations of money laundering and temporarily banned leading financial consultants from working in his state. Last week, Lawsky also warned the nation's biggest banks that he regards them as accessories to payday lenders' illegal activities.