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California gets its own consumer financial protection agency

Governor Gavin Newsom California Signing a BillGov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday establishing a Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to protect consumers from financial predators and abusive business practices.

“While the federal government is getting out of the financial protection business, California is leaning into it,” Newsom said.

He said it’s at this moment especially – when so many Californians are strapped for cash and struggling to pay their bills – that families are likely to fall victim to predatory and abusive financial products.

The law expands the state’s power to target unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices by financial service providers – such as debt collectors and emerging financial technology products.

The Department of Business Oversight will be rebranded as the DFPI and 90 positions will be added over the next three years. The powers of the department will be expanded to ensure that there is proper oversight of all financial products and services in California.

The DFPI, California’s version of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will:

  • Expand the state’s consumer protection capacity by adding dozens of investigators and attorneys to supervise financial institutions and crack down on financial predators.
  • Create a team to monitor markets to identify emerging risks to consumers.
  • Create a team dedicated to consumer education and outreach, listening, and responding to consumers in specific communities, including veterans, immigrants, and older Californians.
  • Create a new Office of Financial Technology and Innovation, which will cultivate financial technology to serve – not exploit – consumers

“At a time when the President is weakening the federal bureau, Governor Newsom is filling that leadership void for Californians,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski. “The law will crack down on those who seek to abuse consumers, disregard their rights, and strip them of their hard-earned money.”

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