APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT
J. DOWNING, Judge, presiding.
Division-Kostner Currency Exchange, Inc., and Grand-North Currency Exchange, Inc. (plaintiffs), filed the instant complaint for administrative review of the decision of C. Austin Montgomery, Director of the Department of Financial Institutions (Director) awarding Thillens, Inc. (defendant), an ambulatory currency exchange license to perform on-location check-cashing services for the employees of an industrial plant located a short distance from the respective plaintiffs' established community currency exchanges. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.) The complaint alleged that the decision of the Director was contrary to law, unsupported by the evidence, and against the manifest weight of the evidence. The circuit court found that the Director's decision was not against the manifest weight of the evidence and denied the relief sought in the complaint. Plaintiffs appeal, contending that the trial court was in error in holding that the decision of the Director was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The record discloses that the defendant applied for a license to provide an ambulatory check-cashing service to the employees of the Pyle-National Company, 1334 North Kostner Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The application was denied after initial investigation by the Director and the defendant requested a hearing on the matter, which was held on May 11, 1972, before a hearing officer of the Department of Financial Institutions. At that hearing, it was brought out that an earlier application had been filed by defendant to service Pyle-National a short while after the Brinks Corporation had ceased providing check-cashing services for Pyle-National's employees in September 1970, after about 25 years of providing such service, and that the earlier application had been denied after a hearing in October 1970.
At the May 1972 hearing on the instant application, evidence was adduced that the Pyle-National Company was located on the west side of Kostner Avenue, which was industrial in character; that the east side of Kostner Avenue was residential in character; and that the company employed about 700 employees, the majority of whom desired a check-cashing service to be located on the company grounds due to the inconvenience involved in cashing their paychecks during working hours on payday. The president of the company had received "considerable pressure" from his employees to secure a check-cashing service for the plant premises, and the two industrial plants flanking the Pyle-National Company plant were serviced by ambulatory check-cashing operations. It was further brought out at the hearing that the plaintiffs' community currency exchanges were located 1 and 2 blocks from the Pyle-National plant, that both plaintiffs were located near public bus routes and were accessible from nearby ample automobile parking, and that about 10 percent of one plaintiff's gross business and about 5 percent of the other plaintiff's gross business were generated from Pyle-National employees. It was also brought out that both plaintiffs' businesses would suffer if the proposed license were granted, that about 80 per cent of the Pyle-National employees drove to work, that the majority of those employees lived in the neighborhood of the Pyle-National plant, and that one wishing bus service to and from the Pyle-National plant could board and alight the buses in the immediate proximity of the respective plaintiffs' locations.
The evidence adduced before the hearing officer, consisting of testimony and various exhibits, was summarized in the hearing officer's report and adopted as his findings of fact. After citing several relevant portions of the Community Currency Exchange Act in the report, the hearing officer arrived at the following conclusions:
"2. * * * A. The evidence adduced in the hearing herein, establishes the need of the community for the services sought to be provided at the location specified.
B. The evidence adduced in the hearing herein establishes that the public convenience and advantage of the community in which the business is proposed to be conducted will be promoted by the issuance of the license herein sought.
A. The evidence adduced at the hearing herein establishes that the legislative policy as above set out will not be contravened by the issuance of the license herein sought, and that the needs of the community wherein the location license is sought, are such as to warrant the issuance of the license sought.
A. The evidence adduced at the hearing herein establishes that the public interest to promote and foster the community currency exchange business will not be contravened by the issuance of the license herein sought.
B. The evidence adduced at the hearing herein establishes that the public interest to assure the financial stability of the community currency exchange business and of Objector herein specifically, will not be contravened by the issuance of the license herein sought.
THEREFORE, for the reasons hereinabove set forth, the Hearing Officer concludes that the Applicant has met the statutory requirements for the issuance of the proposed location license, and recommends that the Director reverse, set aside, and hold for naught, his ORDER OF DENIAL of the application herein, dated January 31st, 1972, and that the location license herein sought be granted."
The findings of the hearing officer were approved by the Director on January 29, 1973, the ambulatory license applied for was issued, and this action for administrative ...