Department of Financial Protection and Innovation Consumer Connection Newsletter

February 2022

February is Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to celebrate Maggie Lena Walker, the first Black woman to establish and serve as president of a bank in the United States. Walker founded St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903, in Richmond, Va., with money gathered from members of an African American benevolent society. The bank is still in operation, renamed Consolidated Bank & Trust, and is the oldest continuously operated African American-owned bank in the U.S. Read more. 

a lady holding US national flag

DFPI Takes Lead in Mortgage Scam Settlement

a paper with word Scam on itThe DFPI led 41 other states in bringing an enforcement action alleging that 400 mortgage loan originators got fake certifications for completing mandatory continuing education courses. The individual mortgage originators paid around $1.2 million in combined penalties and surrendered their licenses for at least three months under the multi-state settlement. Read more.

California’s AG Comments on Illegal Activity in Crypto

CoinsCalifornia’s Department of Justice is receiving complaints about criminal activity in the digital asset market, according to Attorney General Rob Bonta, the state’s top lawyer. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Bonta said fraud and illicit activities in the cryptocurrency space is “an area of concern” for his office. Read more.

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
February 24, 1 pm Loan Repayment Assistance Program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and loan repayment info hosted by Berkeley Law. This session will help J.D. students planning on a public interest or public service career plan for managing student loan debt. Register for free!
March 11, 9 am Financing Your Business hosted by Small Business Administration. Learn about the different SBA loan guarantees, microloans, and other sources of funding for your business. Register for free!
CalMoneySmart  Webinars 

Learn about the CalMoneySmart program, its upcoming application process, and get answers. Register for free:

  • March 15, 11am
  • March 23, 4pm

Buy Now, Pay Later Plans Being Scrutinized

The increase in consumer use of Buy Now, Pay Later products is drawing scrutiny from regulators. The DFPI has led the way on oversight, classifying late last year that the products are loans, bringing companies that offer them under California’s state lending rules. Now, more states are examining whether expanded rules or new regulations might be needed. Read more.

a hand is holding a credit card

Providing financial education for the unbanked? Apply for a CalMoneySmart Grant!

The DFPI will begin accepting applications for its CalMoneySmart Grant Program on February 28, which will award up to $2 million in grants this year to nonprofits providing free financial education for unbanked and underbanked consumers in California. The DFPI will be hosting two webinars in March to review the program and answer questions. You can register for these events here: 

  • CalMoneySmart 2022-23 Informational Webinar, March 15, 11 am 
  • CalMoneySmart 2022-23 Informational Webinar, March 23, 4 pm 

For more information on CalMoneySmart, its application process, or past grantees, visit the CalMoneySmart website or email  

calMoneySmart logo

California Mortgage Relief to Help Qualified Homeowners

Are you behind on your mortgage payments? You may qualify for the California Mortgage Relief program, a $1 billion mortgage assistance program that could help qualified homeowners get caught up on their housing payments. The program is free, and the funds do not need to be repaid. Click here to learn more and find out if you qualify for assistance.  

two hands holding a house model

Veterans and Service Members Can Get Free Tax Prep 

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation’s Tax-Aide is a free tax preparation and assistance service available (by appointment) to all Veterans, military personnel and their families. AARP membership isn’t required to take advantage of Tax-Aide’s knowledgeable volunteers, and there will be no sales pitch for any other services. Click here to learn more or make an appointment.

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Extended Pause on Student Loan Repayments

Payments to student loans were set to resume at the end of January, but the pause has been extended to May 1, 2022, made in an announcement from President Joe Biden. During this extended pause, be sure to verify your repayment plan options and upcoming monthly payment by contacting your student loan servicer, If you are experiencing issues with your student loan servicer, contact the DFPI at 866-275-2677. 

A pig jar with a PHD hat

DFPI Sues to Stop $68 Million Fraud Targeting Elderly

As part of a nationwide effort, the DFPI, in partnership with the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 26 other state regulators, filed a federal lawsuit against a precious metals dealer and its owner for perpetrating a $68 million fraudulent scheme that targeted the elderly. Read more about this news

a paper with a word fraud on it

Career Opportunities with the 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.  

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Did you know

  • Scammers stole a record $14 billion in cryptocurrency in 2021, according to data from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. Scamming was the greatest form of cryptocurrency-based crime in 2021, followed by theft. Read more and check out these cryptocurrency resources from the DFPI
  • Check fraud is on the rise. Here’s what you need to know and how to avoid it. Read more

CLOTHILDE V. HEWLETT • Commissioner of Financial Protection and Innovation

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

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

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Last updated: Mar 9, 2023 @ 1:29 pm