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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Connecticut issues money transmitter advisory

    Recently, the Connecticut Department of Banking (Department) issued an advisory on money transmission, providing general guidance on what types of activities and entities must be licensed. According to the advisory, transmission can occur whenever “a person takes possession or control of monetary value belonging to another person” and holds it for a period of time, or transmits it to a third party. The Department noted that “[t]he increased use of technology to enable immediate payment mechanisms, as well as the explosion of virtual currency, has caused significant disruption to traditional money transmission systems.” The Department also acknowledged that many consumers do “not realize or understand the regulatory landscape that applies” to using money transmitters. Among other things, the advisory listed entities that traditionally provide transmission services like bill payers, payroll processors, and issuers and sellers of prepaid cards and money orders. The advisory also discussed Connecticut’s license application and penalties for unlicensed transmission, explaining that licensure goes through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and involves disclosing pertinent information concerning all “control persons.” 

    Licensing State Issues Connecticut State Regulators NMLS Money Service / Money Transmitters

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  • Oregon approves final student loan servicer regulations

    Recently, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Division of Finance and Securities Regulation (the Department), filed agency-approved student loan servicer licensing regulations with the Oregon Office of the Secretary of State. The regulations implement SB 485 (enacted last July and covered by InfoBytes here), which established provisions for student loan servicers related in part to licensing requirements, including the requirement that an applicant for a student loan servicer license should submit applications via the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS).The act also implemented related consumer protections for borrowers.

    The new regulations establish specific application requirements, including provisions related to subcontractors performing servicing activities on behalf of the student loan servicer. The regulations also provide for automatic licensure for applicants that service student loans under a contract with the Department of Education. Additionally, the regulations address (i) procedures for licensing branch locations; (ii) licensing renewals and fees; (iii) liquidity standards; (iv) bond requirements; (v) various annual reporting requirements; (vi) assessment payments and examination fees; (vii) rules for using an assumed business name; (viii) financial responsibility criteria; (ix) student loan servicer duties and responsibilities in addition to prohibited acts; and (x) licensing exemptions. The regulations also establish the Department director’s supervisory authority and outline disclosure requirements for significant developments or changes to a licensee’s record. The regulations became effective July 1.

    Licensing State Issues Oregon Student Lending Student Loan Servicer NMLS

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  • Louisiana enacts student loan servicer provisions, establishes requirements for private education lenders

    On June 18, the Louisiana governor signed HB 610, which defines terms and outlines provisions related to student loan servicers. Among other things, the act prohibits servicers from misleading student loan borrowers or engaging in any unfair, abusive, or deceptive trade practice. Servicers are also prohibited from making misrepresentations or omitting information related to fees, payments, repayment options, loan terms and conditions, or borrower obligations. Moreover, servicers may not “[a]llocate a nonconforming payment in a manner other than as directed by the student loan borrower” under certain circumstances. The act also outlines duties related the furnishing of information to consumer reporting agencies, providing that a servicer may not (i) submit inaccurate information to a consumer reporting agency; (ii) refuse to correct inaccurately furnished information; (iii) fail to report a borrower’s favorable payment history at least once a year; (iv) refuse to communicate with a borrower’s authorized representative; and (v) make false statements or omit material facts connected to a state or local agency investigation. Additionally, the act specifies responsibilities related to responding to written inquires and complaints from consumers.

    The same day, the governor also signed HB 789, which establishes a private student loan registry and outlines provisions related to private education lenders. The act stipulates that all private education lenders operating in the state must register with the commissioner, which may include the payment of fees and registration through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry. However, the act allows the commissioner to prescribe an alternative registration process and fee structure for postsecondary education providers. These registration requirements are not applicable to banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations, or credit unions operating pursuant to authority granted by the commissioner. Private education lenders will also be required to comply with certain reporting requirements, including providing information related to the schools where the lender has made loans to students residing in the state, the total number and dollar amount of loans made annually, interest rate ranges, borrower default rates, copies of promissory notes and contracts, and cosigner loan statistics, among others.

    Both acts take effect August 1.

    Licensing State Issues State Legislation Louisiana Student Lending Student Loan Servicer Consumer Finance NMLS UDAP

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  • Hawaii enacts licensing legislation

    On June 17, the Hawaii governor signed two bills into law. HB 2113 permits money transmitter license applicants to submit to either a state or federal criminal history record check, rather than both, upon application. SB 1105 establishes that, in addition to application fees, and any fees required by NMLS, a mortgage loan originator licensee must pay a mortgage loan recovery fund fee of $200, and upon application for renewal of a license, a mortgage loan originator licensee must pay $100. The bill also permits a person aggrieved by the fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit of a mortgage loan originator company licensee to receive restitution payment upon a final court order. The bills are effective July 1.

    Licensing State Issues State Legislation Hawaii Money Service / Money Transmitters Mortgages Mortgage Origination NMLS

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  • DFPI says debt collection licenses “unavoidably delayed”

    On May 23, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) sent a notice to applicants and prospective applicants announcing unforeseen delays in the issuance of licenses under the Debt Collection Licensing Act. The FBI informed DFPI that new changes are needed to state agency protocols for requesting federal background checks. Prospective licensees are encouraged to continue submitting applications through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System. DFPI stated that during this delay (which “is necessary to enable the Department to effectuate the licensing background check required under the Debt Collection Licensing Act”), “applicants may continue to engage in business, and the Department will not take action for unlicensed activity against applicants who filed their applications after December 31, 2021.” DFPI will reach out to applicants with instructions for submitting fingerprints for background checks when the process becomes available, and advised licensees that “[f]or purposes of including California debt collector license numbers when contacting or communicating with debtors as required under Civil Code section 1788.11, an applicant who has filed its application through NMLS may indicate “license number pending” or similar verbiage until a license is issued.” DFPI will notify applicants when it begins issuing licenses and encourages applicants to check the Department’s website for updates.

    Licensing State Issues California DFPI State Regulators NMLS Debt Collection Licensing Act Debt Collection

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  • Indiana passes loan broker provisions

    On March 18, the Indiana governor signed HB 1092, which amends the provisions regarding loan brokers that include requirements for licensing, as well as contract for the services of a loan broker. Among other things, the bill establishes that a loan processing company notice filing must be made on a form prescribed by the commissioner and include the: (i) loan processing company's business name, address, and state of incorporation or business registration; (ii) names of the owners, officers, members, or partners who control the loan processing company; and (iii) name of each individual who is employed by the loan processing company, including the unique identifier from the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) of each loan processor. Additionally, when a contract for the services of a loan broker is assigned, the loan broker shall provide a copy of the signed contract and a written disclosure of any agreement entered into by the loan broker to procure loans exclusively from one lender to each party to the contract. The bill is effective July 22.

    Licensing State Issues Indiana State Legislation Loan Broker NMLS

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  • Montana adopts NMLS forms and procedure amendments

    Recently, the Montana Department of Administration adopted Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry standardized forms and procedures that include, among other things, information and updates on: (i) escrow business licenses; (ii) definitions for mortgage licensees; (iii) revocation, suspension, or surrender of mortgage licenses; (iv) sales finance company licenses; and (v) consumer loan license surrender. The provisions became effective February 12.

    Licensing State Issues Montana Mortgages NMLS

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  • DFPI extends NMLS transition for CFL licensees to March 15, 2022

    On December 16, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) extended the deadline for California Financing Law (CFL) licensees to transition their licenses to the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) from December 31 to March 15, 2022. All licensees not yet on NMLS must establish an account in NMLS and submit their information on or before the new March deadline. Licensees may access state-specific checklists on the NMLS transition here in addition to DFPI FAQs for additional guidance. Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on the CFL here.

    Licensing State Issues State Regulators DFPI NMLS California California Financing Law Consumer Finance

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  • DFPI reminds debt collectors and buyers of December 31 application deadline

    Recently, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) reminded debt buyers and debt collectors operating in the state of California that applications must be submitted on or before December 31, 2021 through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). The Debt Collection Licensing Act, which takes effect January 1, 2022, requires all persons engaging in the business of debt collection to be licensed by DFPI. Debt collectors that have submitted applications may continue operating in the state while the applications are pending. However, debt collectors that miss the December 31 deadline will be required to wait for the issuance of a license before operating in the state. Application materials and a checklist of requirements are available on NMLS. DFPI noted it will review applications and issue licenses in 2022 and 2023, and stated that once a debt collector is licensed it will not need to register under the California Consumer Financial Protection Law.

    Licensing State Issues State Regulators DFPI Debt Collection California NMLS Debt Buyer

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  • DFPI issues proposed rulemaking under CCFPL

    On November 17, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) issued an invitation for comments on proposed rulemaking under the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL). The CCFPL provides DFPI with the authority to require companies that provide financial products and services to California consumers to register with the agency. DFPI is also able to “require registrants to generate and provide records to facilitate oversight of registrants and detect risks to California consumers.” The draft rule proposes requiring registration for industries that engage in the following financial products and services: debt settlement, student debt relief, education financing, and wage-based advances. According to DFPI’s notice, with respect to education financing, the proposed rulemaking covers providers of any form of credit where the credit’s purpose is to fund postsecondary education. It also covers “credit regardless of whether the provider labels the credit a loan, retail installment contract, or income share agreement, and regardless of whether the credit recipient’s payment obligation is absolute, contingent, or fixed.” Additionally, DFPI notes that “[w]ith respect to education financing with income-based payments, including contracts sometimes referred to as income share agreements,” DFPI proposes “reporting requirements that in some cases diverge from the reporting requirements for education financing with fixed payments.”

    The proposed rulemaking provides definitions to implement the CCFPL registration regulations and addresses several registration provisions including the following:

    • Provides that a person must not engage in the business of offering or providing the designated products and services without first registering with the commissioner unless exempt. The DFPI’s notice stipulates that registering with the commissioner “does not constitute a determination that other laws, including other licensing laws under the commissioner’s jurisdiction, do not apply” and the proposed rulemaking further provides that “granting registration to an applicant does not constitute a determination that the applicant’s acts, practices, or business model complies with any law or regulation.”
    • Outlines registration requirements and designates NMLS to handle all applications, registrant filings, and fee payments on behalf of the commissioner. The proposed rulemaking lays out information that must be submitted and maintained as part of the registration application, as well as notices required by state law, and steps registrants must take when making changes to an application filing. An applicant’s failure to provide all or any part of the requested information may prevent approval, DFPI states.
    • Outlines requirements for registrants seeking to conduct business at a new branch office or at a new location for an existing branch. Requests must be filed with NMLS within 30 calendar days of the date a registrant engages in business at the new branch office or new location.
    • Addresses procedures related to annual assessments and pro rata payment requirements, as well as annual reporting requirements for registrants based on the products and services they provide.
    • Outlines procedures and requirements for rescinding a summary revocation order when a former registrant submits a written request for reinstatement to the commissioner.
    • Discusses procedures related to the effectiveness, surrender, and revocation of a registration. DFPI provides that a “registration issued under this subchapter is effective until it is revoked by the commissioner, is surrendered by the registrant, or becomes inoperative under subdivision (b) of Financial Code section 90009.5.”

    DFPI’s notice also seeks comments on proposals to streamline the registration process and improve transparency and clarification on matters related to, among other things: (i) the types of information that may be subject to public disclosure; (ii) annual reporting requirements not included in the proposed rulemaking; and (iii) certain registration requirements that may be applicable to DFPI licensees and licensees and registrants of other state agencies. In addition, DFPI seeks stakeholder feedback on the economic impact of the draft rules on businesses and consumers in California.

    Comments on the proposed rulemaking are due December 20.

    Licensing State Issues State Regulators DFPI CCFPL Consumer Finance Debt Settlement Student Lending Debt Relief Earned Wage Access NMLS

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