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WBK Industry News - State Regulatory Developments

Georgia Amends Code Provisions Related to Financial Institutions

On May 1, 2017, the Georgia Governor signed into law amendments to the Georgia Code related to financial institutions.  These modifications, among other things: (1) create subpoena powers for the Department of Banking and Finance (“Department”); (2) allow mortgage lenders to charge a convenience fee; (3) allow the Department to conduct on-site examinations of licensees and registrants without prior notice; and (4) increase the surety bond requirement for mortgage brokers and lenders.  Except for the surety bond requirements which go into effect December 1, 2017, these amendments go into effect June 1, 2017.

First, the Department will have the power to issue a subpoena requiring the appearance and attendance of any person whose testimony may be relevant to the examination or investigation of a licensee or registrant or for the production of any pertinent books and papers of a licensee or registrant.

Second, mortgage lenders will have the ability to charge a “convenience fee” which may include any fee charged for payment to an account with the assistance of a live representative or agent of the mortgage lender by telephone, using a voice response unit, or other electronic means.  It does not include a discount offered by a lender to a person for payment by cash, check, or similar means.

Third, the Department will be able to conduct an on-site examination of licensees and registrants without prior notice, and the licensee or registrant will have to pay the reasonably incurred costs of such examination.

Finally, effective December 1, the surety bond requirement for mortgage brokers will increase from $50,000 to $150,000 and the surety bond requirement for mortgage lenders will increase from $150,000 to $250,000.

The entire Georgia HB 143 can be found here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20172018/HB/143.