First of its kind agreement balances consumer protection with financial innovation
Branch, the employer payments platform, announced it has proactively signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI). Through the agreement, Branch will collaborate with the DFPI to balance consumer protection with financial innovation.
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Branch is among five earned wage access (EWA) providers to enter this agreement, believed to be the first in the nation between earned wage access companies and a state regulator. Under the MOU, the companies have agreed to deliver quarterly reports intended to provide the department with a better understanding of the products and services being offered and their impact on California consumers.
“This agreement shows that protecting consumers and fostering financial innovation don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” said Branch CEO Atif Siddiqi. “Whether it’s access to earned wages at no cost or fee-free banking, we’ve remained committed to offering workers free, transparent financial services. We look forward to working with the DFPI to ensure financial technology innovation benefits consumers.”
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Branch partners with employers to deliver employees access to their earned wages quickly and safely. The company has guardrails such as advancing based on earned wages and limiting an employee’s access to up to 50 percent of earned wages. Branch provides not only EWA, but also a range of other offerings that can help employees get ahead financially including fee-free banking, digital tips and reimbursements, contactless payments, and a budgeting tool.
Under the California Consumer Financial Protection Law, the California DFPI oversees and enforces regulation that protects consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices committed by financial services or products. These may include industries that currently exist unregulated in California or new products or services that may enter the market in the future.