[UPDATED] California DFPI Proposes Changes to Definitions Under New Licensing Law

EDITOR’S NOTE: The DFPI has extended the deadline for comments to be submitted to December 2. This article has been updated to reflect that extension.

The California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation has issued another set of proposed modifications to its licensing application and procedures for applying for a license, and is seeking comments between now and the end of the month on those proposed changes.

Like the industry doesn’t have anything else to worry about between now and the end of November, right? 😁

Under the new proposed regulations, the definition of “branch office” would be modified to include any location other than a principal place of business “if activity related to debt collection occurs at the location and the location is held out to the public as a business location or money is received at the location or held at the location. Being held out to the public as a business location includes receiving postal correspondence, meeting with the public, including the location on letterheads or business cards, and including signage at the location. It appears on first blush that this is an attempt to keep individuals who work are working from home outside of the definition of a branch office under the licensing regulations.

The proposed regulation also amends the definition of debt collector, striking “any person who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on the person’s own behalf or on behalf of others, engages in consumer debt collection. The term includes any person who composes and sells, or offers to compose and sell, forms, letters and other collection media used or intended to be used for debt collection” from the definition and instead saying that the definition is the same as “subdivision (j) of Section 100002 of the Financial Code.”

Section 100002(j) of the Financial Code defines debt collector as “any person who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on the person’s own behalf or on behalf of others, engages in debt collection. The term includes any person who composes and sells, or offers to compose and sell, forms, letters and other collection media used or intended to be used for debt collection. The term ‘debt collector’ includes ‘debt buyer’ as defined in Section 1788.50 of the Civil Code.”

Anyone interested in voicing support or opposition to these changes, or making any other comments, may do so by emailing regulations@dfpi.ca.gov or sending them through the mail to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation; Attn: Sandra Sandoval; 300 S. Spring Street, Suite 15513, Los Angeles, California 90013. Comments must be submitted by December 2.

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