2007 Regular Session
To: Banking and Financial Services
By: Representative Perkins (By Request)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 75-67-509, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ANY PERSON WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF A FELONY SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR A LICENSE AS A CHECK CASHER; TO AMEND SECTION 75-67-515, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF BANKING SHALL IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY AGAINST A CHECK CASHER LICENSEE FOR INITIATING CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS FOR AN OVERDRAWN CHECK; TO REQUIRE LICENSEES TO ATTEND ANNUAL CONTINUING EDUCATION TRAINING; TO AMEND SECTION 75-67-519, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSIONER SHALL IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY AGAINST A LICENSEE FOR RENEWING OR EXTENDING A DELAYED DEPOSIT CHECK OR ACCEPTING REPAYMENT OF A DELAYED DEPOSIT CHECK WITH THE PROCEEDS OF ANOTHER CHECK CASHED BY THE SAME LICENSEE; TO AMEND SECTION 75-67-527, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF A CIVIL PENALTY THAT THE COMMISSIONER MAY IMPOSE AGAINST A LICENSEE FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE CHECK CASHERS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 75-67-509, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-67-509. To be eligible for a check casher license, an applicant shall:
(a) Operate lawfully and fairly within the purposes of this article.
(b) Not have been convicted of a felony * * * or be active as a beneficial owner for someone who has been convicted of a felony * * *.
(c) File with the commissioner a bond with good security in the penal sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), payable to the State of Mississippi for the faithful performance by the licensee of the duties and obligations pertaining to the business so licensed and the prompt payment of any judgment which may be recovered against the licensee on account of charges or other claims arising directly or collectively from any violation of the provisions of this article. The bond shall not be valid until it is approved by the commissioner. The applicant may file, in lieu of the bond, cash, a certificate of deposit or government bonds in the amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00). Those deposits shall be filed with the commissioner and are subject to the same terms and conditions as are provided for in the surety bond required in this paragraph. Any interest or earnings on those deposits are payable to the depositor.
(d) File with the commissioner an application for a license and the initial license fee required in this article. If applicant's application is approved, a check casher license will be issued within thirty (30) days.
(e) Submit a set of fingerprints from any local law enforcement agency. In order to determine the applicant's suitability for license, the commissioner shall forward the fingerprints to the Department of Public Safety; and if no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the Department of Public Safety to the FBI for a national criminal history record check.
(f) Complete and file with the commissioner an annual renewal application for a license accompanied by the renewal fee required in this article.
SECTION 2. Section 75-67-515, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-67-515. (1) The department may adopt reasonable administrative regulations, not inconsistent with law, for the enforcement of this article.
(2) To assure compliance with the provisions of this article, the department may examine the books and records of any licensee without notice during normal business hours. The commissioner may charge the licensee an examination fee in an amount not less than Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) nor more than Six Hundred Dollars ($600.00) for each office or location within the State of Mississippi plus any actual expenses incurred while examining the licensee's records or books that are located outside the State of Mississippi. However, in no event shall a licensee be examined more than once in a two-year period unless for cause shown based upon consumer complaint and/or other exigent reasons as determined by the commissioner.
(3) Each licensee shall keep and use in its business any books, accounts and records the department may require to carry into effect the provisions of this article and the administrative regulations issued under this article. Every licensee shall preserve the books, accounts and records of its business for at least two (2) years.
(4) Any fee charged by a licensee for cashing a check shall be posted conspicuously to the bearer of the check before cashing the check, and the fee shall be a service fee and not interest.
(5) Before a licensee deposits with any bank or other depository institution a check cashed by the licensee, the check shall be endorsed with the actual name under which the licensee is doing business.
(6) All personal checks cashed for a customer by a licensee shall be dated on the actual date the cash is tendered to the customer.
(7) No licensee shall cash a check payable to a payee unless the licensee has previously obtained appropriate identification of the payee clearly indicating the authority of the person cashing the check, draft or money order on behalf of the payee.
(8) No licensee shall indicate through advertising, signs, billboards or otherwise that checks may be cashed without identification of the bearer of the check; and any person seeking to cash a check shall be required to submit reasonable identification as prescribed by the department. The provisions of this subsection shall not prohibit a licensee from cashing a check simultaneously with the verification and establishment of the identity of the presenter by means other than presentation of identification.
(9) Within five (5) business days after being advised by the payor financial institution that a check has been altered, forged, stolen, obtained through fraudulent or illegal means, negotiated without proper legal authority or represents the proceeds of illegal activity, the licensee shall notify the department and the district attorney for the judicial district in which the check was received. If a check is returned to the licensee by the payor financial institution for any of these reasons, the licensee may not release the check without consent of the district attorney or other investigating law enforcement authority.
(10) If a check is returned to a licensee from a payor financial institution because there are insufficient funds in or on deposit with the financial institution to pay the check, the licensee or any other person on behalf of the licensee shall not institute or initiate any criminal prosecution against the maker or drawer of the personal check with the intent and purpose of aiding in the collection of or enforcing the payment of the amount owed to the check casher by the maker or drawer of the check. If the licensee initiates criminal prosecution against the maker or drawer of a personal check because there are insufficient funds in or on deposit with a payor financial institution to pay the check, the commissioner shall impose a civil penalty of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) against the licensee.
(11) Nothing in this article shall prohibit a licensee from issuing coupons to customers or potential customers which are redeemable against a deferred deposit transaction provided the redemption results in a financial benefit to the customer on current or future transactions.
(12) Each licensee shall attend annual continuing education training. The commissioner shall establish and conduct that training and shall maintain records on all licensees regarding that training. The amount of annual continuing education training that will be satisfactory to fulfill the requirements of this section shall be determined by the commissioner. If a licensee misses two (2) consecutive training sessions sponsored or approved by the commissioner as required by this subsection or fails to attend one (1) such training session within six (6) months after receiving his or her license, the license shall not be renewed until the training is successfully completed.
SECTION 3. Section 75-67-519, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-67-519. (1) A licensee may defer the deposit of a personal check cashed for a customer for up to thirty (30) days under the provisions of this section.
(2) The face amount of any delayed deposit check cashed under the provisions of this section shall not exceed Four Hundred Dollars ($400.00). Each customer is limited to a maximum amount of Four Hundred Dollars ($400.00) at any time.
(3) Each delayed deposit check cashed by a licensee shall be documented by a written agreement that has been signed by the customer and the licensee. The written agreement shall contain a statement of the total amount of any fees charged, expressed as a dollar amount and as an annual percentage rate. The written agreement shall authorize the licensee to defer deposit of the personal check until a specific date not later than thirty (30) days from the date the check is cashed.
(4) A licensee shall not directly or indirectly charge any fee or other consideration for cashing a delayed deposit check in excess of eighteen percent (18%) of the face amount of the check.
(5) No check cashed under the provisions of this section shall be repaid by the proceeds of another check cashed by the same licensee or any affiliate of the licensee. A licensee shall not renew or otherwise extend any delayed deposit check. The commissioner shall impose a civil penalty of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) against any licensee that violates this subsection.
(6) A licensee shall not offer discount catalog sales or other similar inducements as part of a delayed deposit transaction.
(7) A licensee shall not charge a late fee or collection fee on any deferred deposit transaction as a result of a returned check or the default by the customer in timely payment to the licensee. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this section, a licensee may charge a processing fee, not to exceed an amount authorized by the commissioner, for a check returned for any reason, including, without limitation, insufficient funds, closed account or stop payment, if such processing fee is authorized in the written agreement signed by the customer and licensee. In addition, if a licensee takes legal action against a customer to collect the amount of a delayed deposit check for which the licensee has not obtained payment and obtains a judgment against the customer for the amount of that check, the licensee shall also be entitled to any court-awarded fees.
(8) When cashing a delayed deposit check, a licensee may pay the customer in the form of the licensee's business check or a money order; however, no additional fee may then be charged by the licensee for cashing the licensee's business check or money order issued to the customer.
SECTION 4. Section 75-67-527, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-67-527. (1) In addition to any other penalty which may be applicable, any licensee or employee who willfully violates any provision of this article, or who willfully makes a false entry in any record specifically required by this article, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine not in excess of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per violation or false entry.
(2) Compliance with the criminal provisions of this article shall be enforced by the appropriate law enforcement agency, which may exercise for that purpose any authority conferred upon the agency by law.
(3) When the commissioner has reasonable cause to believe that a person is violating any provision of this article, the commissioner, in addition to and without prejudice to the authority provided elsewhere in this article, may enter an order requiring the person to stop or to refrain from the violation. The commissioner may sue in any circuit court of the state having jurisdiction and venue to enjoin the person from engaging in or continuing the violation or from doing any act in furtherance of the violation. In such an action, the court may enter an order or judgment awarding a preliminary or permanent injunction.
(4) The commissioner may impose a civil penalty against any licensee adjudged by the commissioner to be in violation of the provisions of this article. The civil penalty shall not exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per violation and shall be deposited into the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, "Consumer Finance Fund."
(5) Any licensee convicted in the manner provided in this article shall forfeit the surety bond or deposit required in Section 75-67-509(c) and the amount of the bond or deposit shall be credited to the budget of the state or local agency which directly participated in the prosecution of the licensee, for the specific purpose of increasing law enforcement resources for that specific state or local agency. The bond or deposit shall be used to augment existing state and local law enforcement budgets and not to supplant them.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.