Calif.’s Mini-CFPB and N.Y.’s Debt Collector Licensing

Calif.’s Mini-CFPB and N.Y.’s Debt Collector Licensing

January 16, 2020 Off By administrator

The governors of California and New York have both introduced plans to expand each states’ oversight of the credit and collections industry. This appears to be driven by the states’ perception that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has “rolled back” its oversight and enforcement activities, thereby creating a need for the states to step-in. It’s going to be a busy year!

California Proposes Mini-CFPB

On January 10, 2020, California’s Governor proposed a budget for 2020-2021, which contemplates the passage of a new California Consumer Financial Protection Law. The new law will essentially overhaul the Department of Business Oversight and transform it into the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (“DFPI”). Simply put, the DFPI would be California’s version of the CFPB.  

Although the text of the California Consumer Financial Protection Law has not been released, the Governor’s Budget Summary reveals his vision for the DFPI. The DFPI would have expanded enforcement authority to pursue “unfair and deceptive practices” and would give DFPI jurisdiction to supervise debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, FinTech companies, and other financial services providers previously unlicensed and unregulated by the Department of Business Oversight.  

The DFPI costs would initially be “covered by available settlement proceeds in the State Corporations and Financial Institutions Funds, with future costs covered by fees on the newly covered industries and increased fees on existing licensees.” The proposed budget for the DFPI would include a “$10.2 million Financial Protection Fund and 44 positions in 2020-21, growing to $19.3 million and 90 positions ongoing in 2022-23.” 

Specifically, the DFPI’s activities would include:

  • Offering services to empower and educate consumers, especially older Americans, students, military service members, and recent immigrants; 
  • Licensing and examining new industries that are currently under-regulated;
  • Analyzing patterns and developments in the market to inform evidence-based policies and enforcement;
  • Establishing a new Financial Technology Innovation Office that will proactively cultivate the responsible development of new consumer financial products;
  • Offering legal support for the administration of the new law; and 
  • Expanding existing administrative and information technology staff to support the Department’s increased regulatory responsibilities. 

Why is California’s Governor proposing this? The Budget Summary states “California’s economy and its people thrive when predatory business practices are policed and innovation is cultivated . . . The federal government’s rollback of the CFPB leaves Californians vulnerable to predatory businesses and leaves companies without the clarity they need to innovate.” 

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It is now up to California’s Legislature to review and pass the Governor’s proposed budget. The Legislature has until June 15th

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