(1) A person may not engage in the business of a sales finance company or operate a branch of such business without a license as provided in this section; however, a bank, trust company, savings and loan association, or credit union authorized to do business in this state is not required to obtain a license under this part. Any person authorized as a licensee or registrant pursuant to part III of chapter 494 is not required to obtain a license under this part in order to become an assignee of a home improvement finance seller.
(2) An application for a license under this part must be submitted to the office in such form as the commission may prescribe by rule. The commission may require each applicant to provide any information reasonably necessary to determine the applicant’s eligibility for licensure. The applicant shall also provide information that the office requires concerning any officer, director, control person, member, partner, or joint venturer of the applicant or any person having the same or substantially similar status or performing substantially similar functions or any individual who is the ultimate equitable owner of a 10-percent or greater interest in the applicant. The office may require information concerning any such applicant or person, including his or her full name and any other names by which he or she may have been known, age, social security number, residential history, qualifications, educational and business history, and disciplinary and criminal history. If the office determines that an application should be granted, it shall issue the license for a period not to exceed 2 years. A nonrefundable application fee of $175 shall accompany an initial application for the principal place of business and each branch location of a sales finance company. An application is considered received for purposes of s. 120.60 upon receipt of a completed application form as prescribed by commission rule, a nonrefundable application fee of $175, and any other fee prescribed by law.
(3) The nonrefundable renewal fee for a sales finance company license shall be $175. Biennial licensure periods and procedures for renewal of licenses may also be established by the commission by rule. A license that is not renewed at the end of the biennium established by the commission shall revert from active to inactive status. An inactive license may be reactivated within 6 months after becoming inactive upon filing a completed reactivation form, payment of the nonrefundable renewal fee, and payment of a reactivation fee equal to the nonrefundable renewal fee. A license that is not reactivated within 6 months after becoming inactive automatically expires.
(4) A licensee may not transact business as a sales finance company except under the name by which it is licensed. A license issued under this part is not transferable or assignable.
(5) The office may deny an initial application for a license under this part if the applicant or any officer, director, control person, member, partner, or joint venturer of the applicant is the subject of a pending criminal prosecution or governmental enforcement action, in any jurisdiction, until conclusion of such criminal prosecution or enforcement action.
(6) Each sales finance company shall designate and maintain an agent in this state for service of process.