Department of Financial Protection and Innovation Consumer Connection Newsletter

January 2022

$10M Budget Proposal Would Help Student Borrowers

This month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $10 million budget proposal to educate, assist, and empower student loan borrowers. If approved, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) will use these funds to establish a statewide communications campaign and grant program. The communications campaign would inform student borrowers of their rights and options, including when to ask for income-driven repayment and how public service workers can apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver.

A girl smiles with a pig jar in her hands

After a two-year pause, federal student loan payments will resume May 1, 2022. The PSLF Waiver ends Oct. 31, 2022. To learn more or join us for a kickoff meeting on the student borrower campaign, email  

a note book with Financial plan on itNew Year, New Financial Goals

The New Year is a good time to set some great financial goals! You can set small, realistic goals that will help you work towards your larger goals. Start with creating a budget and reviewing all your monthly expenses. Learn more at DFPI’s Budgeting Webpage and try out Budget Worksheet that can help you achieve your financial goals.   

Recent and Upcoming DFPI Consumer Outreach Events

For more information about DFPI’s Education & Outreach programs, events calendar, and other consumer protection resources, please visit the DFPI Education & Outreach webpage. Recordings of select events can also be viewed on the DFPI YouTube Channel.


Date/Time Event
January 26, 8 am Employment vs Entrepreneurship at Age 50+
Join AARP and a panel of thought leaders discussing employment and entrepreneurial options for older adults. Register for free!
January 26, 11 am – 1pm AARP Online Career Summit
This national event includes webinars, a FAQ from a career coach, and companies looking for experienced workers. Register for free!
January 27, 9:30 am Consumer Rights Clinic
Speak for free with an attorney about consumer issues, including if you are considering bankruptcy. Hosted by Bay Area Legal Aid, the event requires an RVSP. 
Feb. 1, 10 am Student Loan Borrower Kick-off Meeting
If you are an organization that helps student loan borrowers, we want to partner with you! Join us to learn about the DFPI’s student borrower campaign and how we can work together. Register for free!
Feb. 5, 9 am Steps to College
Students and their families can visit with representatives virtually from different campuses across California with workshops on financial aid, college admissions, immigration, and consular assistance. Hosted by the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento and their strategic partners, webinars will include information in English and Spanish. Register for free!

Conquer Your Holiday Debt

Create a plan to pay off all that holiday shopping debt. Use the “snowball” or “avalanche” approach and enjoy watching your finances improve.

  • Snowball approach: focus on paying off your smallest balance first while making minimum payments on the rest. Once the smallest balance is paid off, roll the money you were paying into the next balance.
  • Avalanche approach: focus on paying off your highest interest debt, while making minimum payments on the rest.

To lower your interest fees while you pay your debt, consider if a balance transfer or debt consolidation loan could help you. If you are experiencing issues with a debt collector, contact our consumer services office at 1–866-275-2677 or

A  man is putting coins into a jar

DFPI Spurs Participation in National Mortgage Relief Program

The DFPI helped increase mortgage servicer participation in the California Mortgage Relief Program, connecting more homeowners to help during the pandemic. The California Mortgage Relief Program is part of California’s Housing is Key program and is designed to work with several state and federal initiatives and programs to support residents facing difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about how we worked with mortgage servicers to ensure participation in the historic program.

Two hands shaking

LA Rent-to-Own Startup Agrees to Refund Overcharges and Comply

In its first action against a rent-to-own firm violating the California Consumer Financial Protection Law, the DFPI finalized a settlement with Los Angeles-based rent-to-own furniture provider Fernished.

Based on the DFPI’s investigation, they found that Fernish overcharged consumers late payment fees and failed to provide consumer disclosures required under California’s rent-to-own law in violation of the consumer protection law. Read more about this news.

Family shopping in a store

LoanMart Agrees to Temporarily End High-Interest Rate Loans

The DFPI reached an agreement with LoanMart to prohibit the company from marketing or servicing title loans of less than $10,000 with rates greater than 36 percent in California for the next twenty-one months.

Last year, the DFPI launched an investigation to assess whether LoanMart was evading California’s newly enacted interest rate caps through a partnership with an out-of-state bank. Read more about this news.

Office of Attorney General

Consumer Alert: Website Fraudulently Posing as Broker-Dealer

The DFPI has received information that the website is fraudulently posing as Seedchange Execution Services, Inc., a California licensed Broker-Dealer. This is the third time that the website address has changed to continue its fraudulent activity. Read more and keep up to date on this consumer alert. To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, or to file a complaint, consumers should contact the DFPI at or call (866) 275-2677.

Hands typing on keyboard of a laptop

Career Opportunities with DFPI

The DFPI is California’s primary regulatory authority overseeing financial services, products, and professionals. Its mission includes protecting consumers from potential abusive, deceptive, and unfair practices.

If you are passionate about wanting to make a difference in protecting consumers from financial fraud, join our team! Find out more about available positions on the DFPI’s Careers webpage.

Two person shake hand

Did you know?

  • Almost 4 million Californians owe a total of $147 billion in student loan debt, averaging $34,187 per borrower. More than half-a-million of these borrowers are delinquent or in default. To review your student loan repayment options and verify your upcoming monthly payment, contact your student loan servicer.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later loans and payments will start showing up on credit reports starting this year. Missing these payments could potentially lower a consumer’s credit score, just like missing a credit card payment, so be careful and read the fine print when considering using this payment method.

CLOTHILDE V. HEWLETT • Commissioner of Financial Protection and Innovation

The January 2022 Consumer Connection covers the month ending December 31, 2021.

The Consumer Connection is available at no charge via e-mail.

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Last updated: Mar 12, 2023 @ 4:47 pm