California DFPI Hires Fintech Legal Expert to Lead New Financia…

California DFPI Hires Fintech Legal Expert to Lead New Financial Technology and Innovation Office

After a nationwide search, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced it has hired Christina Tetreault to lead the new Office of Financial Technology and Innovation, which will provide a national model for fostering responsible innovation by offering early guidance to entrepreneurs developing financial products and services in California, according to a news release from the DFPI.

The announcement finalizes hiring for the most critical positions needed to stand up major offices and divisions to carry out the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL), which took effect Jan. 1.

In the next few months, Tetreault will work to establish regular “office hours” for fintech innovators and stakeholders and plans to host listening sessions to gather feedback on how the San Francisco-based office can provide support and guidance to emerging businesses that will spur job creation and safeguard consumers.

Earlier this year, the DFPI announced the hiring of Suzanne Martindale, a veteran consumer advocate and key architect of the new law, to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Division.

The new division will be responsible for regulating previously unregulated financial services providers and debt collectors and establishing a market monitoring and research arm to keep up with industry trends. The division will also conduct targeted outreach to underserved communities throughout the state.

The department this month also announced the hiring of Brian Gould to lead the newly created Office of the Ombudsman, which will provide an impartial review of complaints and resolutions with a goal to improve and streamline department operations.

“We are creating a national model in California that will better protect consumers, help innovators and entrepreneurs understand our expectations, and support the creation of responsible financial products,” DFPI Commissioner Manuel P. Alvarez said in the news release. “The leadership and expertise each of these individuals brings will help us execute the ambitious responsibilities we have under the new law.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the CCFPL to create the state consumer protection agency in 2020. The law also expands the state’s power to target unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices by financial service providers.

In other related news, several members of ACA International were recently appointed to the DFPI’s debt collection advisory committee, which will provide the opportunity to give critical feedback to the DFPI as it creates its debt collection licensing program.

The DFPI is also seeking comments on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add to the agency’s licenses application process, which are due June 8.

For more information on how the ACA licensing staff can assist with your licensing application completion needs, please contact us at [email protected] or call (952) 926-6547.