In our continued work to proactively protect consumers, Branch recently became one of five earned wage access (EWA) providers who has worked in collaboration with the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI). Together, we entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to balance consumer protections with financial innovation in the EWA space. It’s a first-of-its-kind collaboration that we feel privileged to be a part of, since we’ve been focused on how our services can benefit our end user—the American worker—since day one.
This was a unique opportunity to work in step with the DFPI to promote responsible fintech innovation while continuing our mission of helping consumers achieve financial stability. From offering EWA for free to faster payments of tips, mileage reimbursements, and other wages, our suite of tools has always been aimed at helping hourly workers grow financially. Early on, we recognized that many Americans live paycheck to paycheck—the number was at a staggering 78% pre-pandemic—and we’ve continued to build out our offerings so that more people can get paid faster and gain access to fair, fee-free financial services.
As announced by the DFPI, “the MOUs pave a path so earned wage access companies can continue operating in California, in advance of possible registration under the California Consumer Financial Protection Law, which took effect this year and defines the companies as newly covered financial services.”
Under the MOU, earned wage access companies have agreed to send quarterly reports intended to provide the department with a better understanding of the products and services being offered and the impact to California consumers. The information the DFPI is gathering will not be made public and any data shared by Branch will be anonymized to protect consumer privacy.
Like the DFPI, we believe in setting and maintaining best practices that protect the consumers who use financial services. We will continue to develop innovative services that help working Americans get ahead financially without having to turn to predatory payday loans or get further into debt. We’re pleased we’ve been able to have a collaborative relationship with the DFPI to be proactive about the best ways to balance product development with fair consumer protections.