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03/30/2016

Wiessmann Provides Update on Consumer Financial Protection Initiative

Harrisburg, PA - Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann today provided an update on Governor Wolf’s Consumer Financial Protection Initiative, which was announced last November. The department is focusing on unlicensed and unregistered financial activities, promoting protections for consumers and investors, promoting awareness of risk regarding innovations in financial services and products, and coordinating state agencies’ ability to respond to consumer inquiries about personal financial matters.

“Governor Wolf and I want Pennsylvania to be the desired destination for financial services, where consumers and businesses are confident in the integrity and transparency of our marketplace,” said Wiessmann. “Our department’s top priority will remain effective regulation. However, the Department of Banking and Securities has been positioning itself to better help consumers and businesses protect themselves, contribute to economic growth, and to enjoy the prosperity that Pennsylvania’s financial marketplace offers.”

Looking forward regarding Governor Wolf’s Consumer Financial Protection Initiative, the department will focus on:

  • Consumers: The department has been working with PennDOT, the PA Department of Human Services, and the PA Department of Labor & Industry to promote awareness of the risk to consumers of unlicensed lending, including “easy money” products such as payday loans and auto title loans. The department is also continuing its work to ensure that businesses engaged in lending to Pennsylvanians are properly licensed. The department also streamlined its online complaint process.
     
  • Investors: The department has been working with the Investor Protection Trust, AARP Pennsylvania, the PA Department of Aging, the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the PA Insurance Department, and the Pennsylvania Military Finance Alliance to promote ways for investors to protect and grow their money, including focusing on retirement saving, preventing elder financial abuse, and addressing the distinctive needs of the military and veteran’s communities.  The department is also continuing its work to ensure that securities offered to Pennsylvanians are properly registered, and that investment professionals and firms are properly licensed.
     
  • Cybersecurity: Last year, the department created a Cybersecurity Task Force to assist the businesses it supervises protect themselves and their customers from threats over the Internet. The work of the task force remains ongoing, and the department has created a resource to assist consumers in their efforts to protect themselves from cyberthieves.
     
  • “Fintech”: The department is promoting awareness of the complexities and risks of new, innovative financial services and products dubbed “fintech,” including crowdfunding, virtual currencies, the blockchain, and marketplace lending.
     
  • Information Sharing: The department is leading a financial education exchange among almost 20 state government agencies that provide education outreach and financial education to consumers and businesses.


​“In announcing this update, our department has developed three primary goals for our consumer financial protection efforts,” said Wiessmann.  “First, we want to continue to build awareness of these important consumer finance and business issues. Second, we aim to better coordinate state government resources and responses. Third, we want to be able to better direct consumers and businesses to sources of information that will help them protect and grow their money or enterprises.”

Members of the public can contact the Department of Banking and Securities consumer hotline (1-800-PA-BANKS) to file a complaint or ask questions about financial products, transactions, or companies. Consumers and businesses can learn more at www.dobs.pa.gov, and are also invited to connect to the department’s consumer and business outreach efforts by following us on Facebook and Twitter or subscribing to the department’s newsletter.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Novak - 717-214-6036

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