The Bureau of Financial Institutions (BFI) is a regulatory division of the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC.) This division is involved in consumer protection through administration of state laws regarding depository and non-depository financial institutions.
Depository financial institutions are comprised of Virginia-chartered banks and related holding companies, savings institutions and related holding companies, and credit unions. Non-depository institutions consist of trust companies, consumer finance companies, mortgage lenders and brokers, money transmitters, credit counseling agencies, motor vehicle title lenders, industrial loan associations, short-term lenders, check cashers, student loan servicers, and debt settlement services providers. Each institution is required to obtain a certificate of authority or a license prior to engaging in business with the exception of check cashers. Check cashers are required to register with the Bureau.
The Bureau also investigates and responds to consumer complaints. In addition to written complaints, the staff responds to thousands of telephone inquiries. The Bureau also has an outreach program for the purpose of improving the financial literacy of Virginians.