The May 2021 DFPI Bulletin focuses on newly appointed positions within the DFPI, the Diversity in State Banking Report, debt collection advisory committee and regulations and proposal for standardizing the NMLS licensing process, among other topics.

Editor’s note — The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI, formerly the Department of Business Oversight), supervises, licenses and regulates a variety of financial institutions, including some real estate mortgage loan originators (MLOs) holding a Nationwide Multistate (or Mortgage) Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) license. Alongside the California Department of Real Estate (DRE), the DFPI shares the responsibility for overseeing MLOs depending on their license use.

Licensees, stay apprised on May 2021’s MLO news and events below.

Newly appointed positions within the DFPI

The DFPI has appointed Christina Tetreault to lead and build the Office of Financial Technology Innovation (OFTI). Christina Tetreault is an attorney with expertise in financial data use and emerging financial technologies which will be vital to her role in creating this office. Additionally, she is a member of the Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The advisory committee advises on and recommends important initiatives focusing on the expansion of banking services to underserved populations.

The California Consumer Financing Protection Law (CCFPL) mandates the creation of the OFTI. It is to operate as a resource to licensees that forecasts risk and identifies new strategic opportunities. In her position, Christina Tetreault will be responsible for working with entrepreneurs and licensees to encourage responsible and innovative financial services and products.

Prior to taking this position, she served as the Manager of Financial Policy for Consumer Reports (CR) where she was responsible for day-to-day policy efforts to realize a fairer and more just financial services marketplace. Her tenure with the OFTI begins May 17, 2021.

On May 3, 2021, Brian Gould started his new position as the Ombuds of the DFPI. Prior to this position, he worked at CalSavers in the Office of State Treasurer, coordinating with stakeholders statewide on instituting the program. In his new position within the Office of the Ombuds, he will offer recommendations for business process improvement and handle consumer complaints.

Diversity in State Banking

As part of their inaugural Economic Equity Conference, the DFPI released the results of their Survey on Diversity in State Banking that was submitted to all credit unions and state-chartered banks in October 2020. The report compacted the data, submitted voluntarily, of 80 of the 233 banks and credit unions that responded, reflecting a 34% response rate.

Pertinent results from the report showed that of the responding financial institutions:

  • approximately half mandate diversity education or training for employees;
  • 23% require diversity training for board members;
  • about 40% have board-approved diversity, equity and inclusion goals;
  • one-third track diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; and
  • over 75% would like the DFPI to support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts by providing education and training to licensees.

The results highlight key opportunities for the DFPI and its licensees. Licensees are eager to promote diversity, equity and inclusion education in the workplace, but lack the resources in some cases. The DFPI can step in to provide these training resources, and licensees can step up by ensuring employees and board members undergo that training.

Standardizing the NMLS licensing process

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) seeks input from industry users of the NMLS related to proposed requirements for a standardized approach to the licensing process in the NMLS’ efforts to modernize its systems for the next generation. Public comments will be published here and will be accepted until May 31, 2021.

One of CSBS’s Networked Supervision priorities is establishing a standardized licensing approach based on uniform requirements across all state nonbank financial regulatory agencies. The modernized NMLS will be more automated, data-driven and user-friendly for applicants, licensees and regulators.

Key components of the proposal include:

  • a three-part licensing framework that distinguishes requirements as core, business-specific and license-specific, with the goal of creating uniform license requirements and reducing variations among state agencies;
  • a listing and description of each core requirement as it applies to companies and individual licensees; and
  • an overview of the identity verification process users will complete when creating an NMLS account.

The first industry to transition to the modernized NMLS will be the money services businesses (MSB) industry, with implementation expected to occur in 2022. In addition to the MSB industry, currently NMLS is used to manage licensing for the mortgage, debt, and consumer finance industries.

The full proposal is available here on the Proposals for Comment page of the NMLS Resource Center.

Debt collection licensing

The DFPI Commissioner has put forth a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the Office of Administrative Law in regards to licensing requirements for debt collectors. This proposal would add several sections to a subchapter of the California Code of Regulations to adopt license application and requirements to obtain a debt collection license under the Debt Collection Licensing Act (DCLA).

Note that persons licensed under the California Financing Law, Residential Mortgage Lending Act (RMLA), or Real Estate Law are exempt from the DCLA’s licensing requirements.

The 45-day public comment period ends on June 8, 2021. The proposed regulation texts can be found here and comments may be emailed to or mailed to this address:

Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, Attn: Sandra Sandoval

300 S. Spring Street, Suite 15513

Los Angeles, California 90013

Additional updates

The DFPI is hosting its first Military and Veterans Financial Education and Resources webinar in honor of National Military Appreciation Month on May 26, at 11 AM PST.

This webinar will provide financial education, information, and other resources available to all California military service members and veterans in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), CalVet and the Sacramento County Veteran’s Service Office.

To learn more, share and register for this free webinar, please visit the DFPI’s official webpage here.

The DFPI is helping to promote and encouraging others to join the Vaccinate All 58 campaign. The campaign promotes critical and up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine to all 58 California counties, stressing its availability, safety, effectiveness plus the fact that it is free.

You can help the Vaccinate All 58 Campaign by:

  • making an appointment either using or your county’s public health department website;
  • spreading the word on accessibility (My Turn is also accessible via a toll-free hotline: 1-833-422-4255. Operators speak English and Spanish, with the ability to add a third-party translator for another 250+ languages); and
  • educating yourself, your friends and your community about the COVID-19 vaccines.

That’s a wrap on May’s DFPI Bulletin. Find out more about the topics mentioned here by reading the full bulletin on the DFPI website.