California regulator hires consumer advocate to lead fintech office


The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation has hired a veteran consumer advocate to lead a newly created Office of Financial Technology and Innovation based in San Francisco.

Christina Tetreault, who most recently had been a manager of financial policy at Consumer Reports and was a former senior staff attorney at Consumers Union, will lead the office created to regulate fintechs. The state regulator said Tetreault has expertise in emerging financial technologies and financial data use. She plans to host listening sessions in San Francisco to gather feedback on how the fintech office can provide support and guidance to emerging businesses that will spur job creation and safeguard consumers.

“We are creating a national model in California that will better protect consumers, help innovators and entrepreneurs understand our expectations, and support the creation of responsible financial products,” DFPI Commissioner Manuel P. Alvarez said in a press release.

In February, the California regulator announced that Suzanne Martindale, who most recently served as senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports, was hired to lead the agency’s Consumer Financial Protection Division. Martindale is also a lecturer in student loan law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

She was a key architect of California’s Consumer Financial Protection Law, which gave the department expanded oversight and enforcement authority over previously unregulated industries including debt collectors, fintech firms and credit reporting agencies. The law went into effect Jan. 1.

The department also said that this month it had hired Brian Gould, a deputy executive director at CalSavers, a new state retirement savings program, to lead the newly created Office of the Ombuds. The office will provide an impartial review of complaints and resolutions with a goal to improve and streamline department operations.

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