Message from DFI Director Charlie Clark:
When the Pandemic hit Washington State in the beginning of this year, DFI ramped up our preparations to work remotely. We thought it would only be for a few months.
We were wrong. Nearly five months after we sent staff home to work, our Tumwater office is still closed to the public and more than 95% of our staff are still teleworking. This may continue to be the case through the rest of 2020. We’re doing our part to keep each other, and you, safe from spreading COVID-19 and flatten the numbers of new cases in our state.
Something we got right, however, was our initial thought – “We got this. Our staff is resilient, talented and resourceful. They’re committed to doing a great job, no matter where they’re sitting.”
DFI staff have continued to provide excellent service to our licensees, regulated entities, partners and consumers – from a distance.
In our Consumer Services Division, we kept up with our review of licenses, and in the last six months we received 1,740 applications and issued 1,596 licenses. We continue to complete our consumer services exams with more than 130 remote exams taking place during this period. Our Securities Division brought 29 enforcement actions - more than the number brought during the same time one year ago. Since the stay at home order went into effect, our divisions of Banks and Credit Unions completed their exams of our state chartered banks and credit unions remotely – with only one needing to be rescheduled. We recognize that all of our licensees and partners have had to balance day-to-day business while supporting their own employees working remotely, implementing new federal programs, and continuing to meet the needs of their customers. While this has not been an ideal situation for any of us, we have all worked together throughout this pandemic to make sure services continue for Washington residents.
We recognize, also, this pandemic has brought with it economic devastation to many in our state. With more than a million Washington residents unemployed and often in dire need of financial assistance, it’s more important than ever to remember to watch out for those who are most vulnerable – both to the virus and the financial scams that seem to develop daily, ready to separate people from what savings or retirement funds they have left.
Though we are far from getting back to ”normal,” we’ll get there together by doing what we need to be safe: wearing our masks, following social distancing guidelines, washing our hands thoroughly and often, and being kind to ourselves and one another as we find some semblance of balance in this unusual time.
Thank you for all that you do.
DFI Director, Charlie Clark