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State Financial Entity Contemplates Improving Communication

The state department is updating existing processes and is working with a longtime IT contractor to do more in the digital realm.

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A state entity charged with protecting customers and business services in financial transactions is modernizing key aspects of its processes.

The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) underwent a refocus and rebranding last year via Assembly Bill 1864 – receiving “expanded enforcement powers to protect California consumers from pandemic-inspired scams, promote innovation, clarify regulatory hurdles for emerging products and increase education and outreach for vulnerable groups,” according to its website. But changing times and the COVID-19 pandemic delivered and emphasized additional needs that DFPI and its longtime IT contractor Granicus are working together to address. Among the takeaways:

  • Generally, DFPI’s needs centered on better communication. A recent Granicus use case pointed out that as the department’s “regulatory complexity increased” and tech preferences shifted, it “sought a modern solution to help licensees and stakeholders stay informed.” DFPI had moved to “another list hosting service” when it began sending “our monthly publication to licensees digitally,” it said – a monthly bulletin that moved to email in the late 1990s. The department chose Granicus’ govDelivery marketing platform for government in 2012, it said, “because it offered additional services and provided more analytics data.”
  • The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic last year required department staff to adapt to new safety protocols, alert financial institutions to capacity restrictions at their locations and quickly get information out on financial relief for renters and landlords alike – all while working remote. GovDelivery enabled that. But the department also needed a better way to communicate with staff during emergencies, it said, adding: “We started looking into various options, including SMS text messaging options through Granicus. That became a clear choice for us since it was already part of our existing contract.” Work on an SMS text message-based emergency notification system capable of sending messages to DFPI mobile phones is underway.
  • DFPI is also working with Granicus Targeted Messaging Service on one-on-one targeted messaging “in order to share custom electronic invoices with each licensee.” The initiative will focus on invoices for department licensees’ annual fee payments; DFPI said the “one-to-one aspect of targeted messaging makes sending invoices an ideal use case.” The project is now in development, and officials are preparing the department’s internal systems. Per Granicus, the department is working with its legal department to ensure compliance with the laws after the move to texting.
    “We hope to begin sending invoices starting in 2022,” the department said.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.