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The Florida Statutes

The 2022 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 516
CONSUMER FINANCE
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 516.05
516.05 License.
(1) Upon the filing of an application for a license and payment of all applicable fees, the office shall, unless the application is to renew or reactivate an existing license, make an investigation of the facts concerning the applicant’s background. If the office determines that a license should be granted, it shall issue the license for a period not to exceed 2 years. Biennial licensure periods and procedures for renewal of licenses shall be established by the rule of the commission. If the office determines that grounds exist under this chapter for denial of an application other than an application to renew a license, it shall deny such application.
(2) A license that is not renewed at the end of the biennium established by the commission shall automatically revert to inactive status. An inactive license may be reactivated upon submission of a completed reactivation application, payment of the biennial license fee, and payment of a reactivation fee which shall equal the biennial license fee. A license expires on the date at which it has been inactive for 6 months.
(3) Only one place of business for the purpose of making loans under this chapter may be maintained under one license, but the office may issue additional licenses to a licensee upon compliance with all the provisions of this chapter governing issuance of a single license.
(4) Each licensee shall report, on a form prescribed by rule of the commission, any change to the information contained in any initial application form or any amendment to such application not later than 30 days after the change is effective.
(5) Each licensee shall report any changes in the partners, officers, members, joint venturers, directors, or control persons of any licensee, or changes in the form of business organization, by written amendment in such form and at such time as the commission specifies by rule.
(a) In any case in which a person or a group of persons, directly or indirectly or acting by or through one or more persons, proposes to purchase or acquire a controlling interest in a licensee, such person or group must submit an initial application for licensure before such purchase or acquisition at such time and in such form as the commission prescribes by rule.
(b) As used in this subsection, the term “controlling interest” means possession of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies of a company whether through ownership of securities, by contract, or otherwise. Any person who directly or indirectly has the right to vote 25 percent or more of the voting securities of a company or is entitled to 25 percent or more of the company’s profits is presumed to possess a controlling interest.
(c) Any addition of a partner, officer, member, joint venturer, director, or control person of the applicant who does not have a controlling interest and who has not previously complied with the provisions of s. 516.03(1) shall be subject to such provisions unless required to file an initial application in accordance with paragraph (a). If the office determines that the licensee does not continue to meet licensure requirements, the office may bring administrative action in accordance with s. 516.07 to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(d) The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 providing for the waiver of the application required by this subsection if the person or group of persons proposing to purchase or acquire a controlling interest in a licensee has previously complied with the provisions of s. 516.03(1) with the same legal entity or is currently licensed with the office under this chapter.
(6) A licensee may conduct the business of making loans under this chapter within a place of business in which other business is solicited or engaged in, unless the office shall find that the conduct of such other business by the licensee results in an evasion of this chapter. Upon such finding, the office shall order the licensee to desist from such evasion; provided, however, that no license shall be granted to or renewed for any person or organization engaged in the pawnbroker business.
(7) Licenses are not transferable or assignable. A licensee may invalidate any license by delivering it to the office with a written notice of the delivery, but such delivery does not affect any civil or criminal liability or the authority to enforce this chapter for acts committed in violation thereof.
(8) The office may refuse to process an initial application for a license if the applicant or any person with power to direct the management or policies of the applicant’s business is the subject of a pending criminal prosecution in any jurisdiction until conclusion of such criminal prosecution.
(9) A licensee who is the subject of a voluntary or involuntary bankruptcy filing must report such filing to the office within 7 business days after the filing date.
(10)(a) In lieu of the $25,000 liquid asset requirement in s. 516.03(1):
1. An applicant or a licensee may provide to the office a surety bond in the amount of at least $25,000, issued by a bonding company or insurance company authorized to do business in this state.
2. A company with at least one currently licensed location must provide to the office a rider or surety bond, in the amount of at least $5,000 for each additional license, issued by a bonding company or insurance company authorized to do business in this state. However, in no event may the aggregate amount of the surety bond required for a company with multiple licenses exceed $100,000.
(b) In lieu of a surety bond, the applicant or the licensee may provide evidence of a certificate of deposit or an irrevocable letter of credit in the same amount of the surety bond required under paragraph (a). The certificate of deposit must be deposited in a financial institution, as defined in s. 655.005(1)(i). The letter of credit must be issued by a financial institution, as defined in s. 655.005(1)(i).
(c) The original surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit must be filed with the office, and the office must be named as beneficiary. The surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit must be for the use and benefit of any borrower who is injured by acts of a licensee involving fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, including willful imposition of illegal or excessive charges; or misrepresentation, circumvention, or concealment of any matter required to be stated or furnished to a borrower, where such acts are in connection with a loan made under this chapter. The office, or any claimant, may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction on the surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit. The surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit must be payable on a pro rata basis, but the aggregate amount may not exceed the amount of the surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit.
(d) The surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit may not be canceled by the licensee, bonding or insurance company, or financial institution except upon notice to the office by certified mail. A cancellation may not take effect until 30 calendar days after receipt by the office of the notice.
(e) The bonding or insurance company or financial institution must, within 10 calendar days after it pays a claim, give notice to the office by certified mail of such payment with details sufficient to identify the claimant and the claim or judgment paid.
(f) If the principal sum of the surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit is reduced by one or more recoveries or payments, the licensee must furnish to the office a new or additional surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit so that the total or aggregate principal sum equals the amount required under this subsection. Alternatively, a licensee may furnish an endorsement executed by the bonding or insurance company or financial institution reinstating the required principal amount.
(g) The required surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit must remain in place for 2 years after the licensee ceases licensed operations in this state. During the 2-year period, the office may allow for a reduction or elimination of the surety bond, certificate of deposit, or letter of credit to the extent the licensee’s outstanding consumer finance loans in this state are reduced.
(h) The commission may prescribe by rule forms and procedures to implement this subsection.
History.s. 4, ch. 10177, 1925; CGL 4002; s. 2, ch. 20728, 1941; s. 4, ch. 57-201; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; ss. 4, 15, ch. 73-192; s. 2, ch. 77-256; s. 7, ch. 78-95; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 6, 16, 17, ch. 88-342; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 2, ch. 99-164; s. 573, ch. 2003-261; s. 27, ch. 2006-213; s. 128, ch. 2007-5; s. 3, ch. 2022-130.