California files debt collection license application with NMLS



On August 25, 2021, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced that a checklist of requirements necessary to obtain a California collection license is now available at Nationwide Multi-State Licensing System and Registry (NMLS). The application will be available on NMLS from September 1, 2021. Once the first request is received, instructions will follow to complete the fingerprint requirements.

The Debt Collection Licensing Act (Fin. Code § 100000 et seq.) (DCLA) requires that any person engaged in debt collection activity in California be licensed by the DFPI. Collection agents Debt collectors in the State of California must submit a request by Friday, December 31, 2021. Once a debt collector submits a request, they may continue to operate as a debt collector in California while the request is in progress. If an application is submitted after December 31, 2021, the debt collector will have to wait for a license to be issued before operating in California. (End code § 100000.5 (c)).

The following entities are required To obtain a license to carry on a debt collection business in California in accordance with the DCLA:

  • Anyone who, in the normal course of business, regularly, for his own account or for the account of others, engages in debt collection.
  • Anyone who composes and sells, or offers to compose and sell, forms, letters and other collection media used or intended to be used in debt collection.
  • Anyone who carries out the activity of a debt buyer. A debt buyer is any person or entity that regularly engages in the business of purchasing consumer debts written off for collection purposes, whether it is to collect the debt itself, to initiate a third party for collection or to hire a lawyer for a collection dispute. .


Since the licensing requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2022, the DFPI strongly recommends that debt collectors begin gathering the information necessary to ensure the timely filing of their application by December 31, 2021. Default submitting an application before this deadline and continued unlicensed operation may result in enforcement action.

For more information on debt collection authorization requirements, please refer to the DFPI Debt Collector Webpage and Faq.

To avoid missing important updates, DFPI strongly encourages entities subject to the new licensing requirement to periodically visit the DFPI website and subscribe to the DFPI email subscription service.

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