Frequently Asked Questions


DFPI Consumer Services Office

Q. What does the DFPI Consumer Services Office do?

A. The DFPI Consumer Services Office facilitates communication between consumers and the various financial institutions, companies and products that DFPI regulates to assist in the dispute resolution process.

DFPI licensees include state-licensed banks and credit unions, money transmitters, issuers of payment instruments and travelers’ checks, and premium finance companies. Additionally, the Department licenses and regulates a variety of financial businesses, including securities brokers and dealers, investment advisers, deferred deposit (commonly known as payday loans) and certain fiduciaries and lenders. The Department regulates the offer and sale of securities, franchises and off-exchange commodities. For the complete list, see the Department’s page about Licensees and Regulated Industries. The DFPI also receives complaints regarding the California Fair Lending Law for investigation.

Having an issue with a financial institution can be very frustrating. The best way to receive help and advice is to take a moment to find out which resource is the most appropriate for you to use. See the links included on this page and the description below to find the appropriate resource for your needs.

Because you and your bank, credit union, or money transmitter are most familiar with your account(s), please contact them directly to try to resolve any issue you may have. You may wish to contact senior management or the entity’s consumer affairs representative for further assistance.

Important Note: The Consumer Services Office is not an advocate for the individual consumer or the licensee. The Consumer Services Office facilitates communication between the consumers and the financial institution to assist in the dispute resolution process. We do not have the statutory authority to award damages, overturn fines or other charges, etc.

Q. How do I file a complaint with a financial institution, company or product licensed by the Department?

A. A step-by-step process is explained in the DFPI Consumer Services Office section of the Web site at www.dfpi.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.


Corporate Information

Contact the California Secretary of State if you are looking for information regarding:

  • Organization of corporations, limited liability companies, or limited partnerships
  • Companies incorporated in California
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Certificates of good standing
  • Current officers and directors
  • Agents for service of process or
  • Name availability

The Secretary of State can be reached at:

California Secretary of State
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-6814 or visit the California Secretary of State’s website

You may visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/business.htm for access to information available from the Business Programs Division of the Secretary of State. This division of the California Secretary of State files a variety of documents including UCC financing statements, trademarks, business entity documents, and other statutorily-required special filings and also is responsible for appointing and commissioning notaries public.


Corporate Names

Q. My company is not actually engaged in the banking or trust business, but I want to use a corporate name that contains the words “bank” or “trust.” The Secretary of State requires that I first receive approval from the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. How do I receive approval of a corporate name?

A. In order to use a corporate name that contains the words “bank” or “trust” (or similar words), you must apply for a Certificate of Approval of Name from the Department. An application for a Certificate of Approval of Name should be in the form of an email addressed to licensing@dfpi.ca.gov or a letter addressed to the Licensing Division in our San Francisco office at One Sansome Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94104-4428.

The application must include:

  • the name of the proposed corporation,
  • a short description of the business the proposed corporation intends to conduct,
  • an ACH payment* or check in the amount of $25.00 made payable to the Commissioner of the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, and
  • a copy of the signed Articles of Incorporation of the proposed corporation. Please allow up to two weeks for processing.

*   Note:  if paying by ACH, please contact licensing@dfpi.ca.gov for account information.

Q. The Department of Real Estate (DRE) requires that I receive an approval from the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation before I do business as a mortgage broker because I want to use a fictitious business name that contains the words “bank” or “trust.” How do I receive approval of a fictitious business name that will satisfy the DRE?

A. In order to use a fictitious business name that contains the words “bank” or “trust” (or similar words), you must apply for a “Letter of No-Objection” from the Department. An application for a Letter of No-Objection should be in the form of a letter addressed to the Licensing Division in our San Francisco office.

The application must include:

  • a request for a Letter of No-Objection,
  • the fictitious business name you intend to use, and
  • a short description of the business. Please allow up to two weeks for processing.

Locating funds from an old/inactive account (Unclaimed Property)

Q. How can I locate money that I had in an account a long time ago?

A. Go to the State Controller’s Office Unclaimed Property (UCP) Program Web site to complete a search for funds. Or you can call them at:
1-800-992-4647 (California residents); or
(916) 323-2827 (out-of-state or foreign)


Liens (information on locating merged, acquired and closed financial institutions)

Q. How Do I Get a “Lien Satisfied” for my automobile?

A. Complete a search on the Financial Institution Listing (DMV database), an alphabetized listing of banks, credit unions and financial/ lending institutions.

This listing was developed to help you find the legal owner/lienholder shown on your vehicle record. The financial institution may have moved, gone out of business, merged with another institution, or changed its name. If you have difficulty locating the legal owner/lienholder to obtain a release, try the alphabetized Financial Institution Listing below.

The Financial Institution Listing will display the following:

  • The bank, credit union or financial/lending institution’s name.
  • A possible successor (acquiring financial institution).
  • The financial institution’s address.
  • The financial institution’s telephone number.

Q. My automobile loan was paid off before my financial institution failed, or was acquired or merged, but I did not receive the title to my vehicle.

How can I locate the surviving institution?

A. You may be able to locate the survivor by checking the National Information Center (NIC) database on the Federal Financial Institution Council (FFIEC)’s website http://www.ffiec.gov/consumercenter/default.aspx. You can also check with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Division of Liquidations at 1-888-206-4662.

DMV Financial Institution Listing (DMV Database)
A listing to help you locate the legal owner/lien holder shown on your vehicle record.

Q. My mortgage was paid off but title to my residence was not reconveyed back to me before my financial institution failed, was sold or merged with another institution.

How can I locate the surviving institution to get my title cleared?

A. Your title company can engage the services of a company that specializes in tracking surviving institutions. You may also be able to locate the survivor by checking the National Information Center (NIC) database on the Federal Financial Institution Council (FFIEC)’s website: http://www.ffiec.gov/consumercenter/default.aspx. You can also check with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Division of Liquidations at 1-888-206-4662.

Q. My automobile loan was paid off before my financial institution failed, or was acquired or merged, but I did not receive the title to my vehicle.

How can I locate the surviving institution?

A. You may be able to locate the survivor by checking the National Information Center (NIC) database on the Federal Financial Institution Council (FFIEC)’s website http://www.ffiec.gov/consumercenter/default.aspx. You can also check with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Division of Liquidations at 1-888-206-4662.

Q. My mortgage was paid off but title to my residence was not reconveyed back to me before my financial institution failed, was sold or merged with another institution.

How can I locate the surviving institution to get my title cleared?

A. Your title company can engage the services of a company that specializes in tracking surviving institutions. You may be able to locate the survivor by checking the National Information Center (NIC) database on the Federal Financial Institution Council (FFIEC)’s website http://www.ffiec.gov/consumercenter/default.aspx. You can also check with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Division of Liquidations at 1-888-206-4662.


How may I obtain a listing of licensees regulated by the department’s Financial Services Division?

Lists can be obtained for each industry Licensed by the Department’s Financial Services Division in either paper or electronic form.

The following lists are available for purchase. The cost of an electronic copy which you will receive via e-mail is $20.00 for each report. The cost for a paper list is stated below.

  • ESCROW LICENSEES – $17.00
  • CHECK SELLERS, BILL PAYERS AND PRORATERS – $5.00
  • CALIFORNIA FINANCE LENDERS – $87.00
  • MORTGAGE BANKERS – $77.00
  • CALIFORNIA DEFERRED DEPOSIT TRANSACTION LAW – $43.00

Please send your request, along with a check or money order to cover the cost of each list, to:

Department of Financial Protection and Innovation
Division of Corporations

Attention: Cashier
320 West 4th Street, Suite 750
Los Angeles, CA 90013-1105

In your request, please include your mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

If you have questions, please e-mail FinancialServices.Licensees@dfpi.ca.gov or call 1-866-275-2677.


Other Resources

Additional information on Money Transmitters is available from Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) – Department of the Treasury

Last updated: Oct 7, 2020 @ 4:08 pm