2005 Regular Session

To: Banking and Financial Services; Military Affairs

By: Representative Rogers (61st)

House Bill 1120



     SECTION 1.  Section 75-67-505, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     75-67-505.  (1)  (a)  A person may not engage in business as a check casher or otherwise portray himself as a check casher unless the person has a valid license authorizing engagement in the business.  A separate license is required for each place of business under this article and each business must be independent of, and not a part of, any other business operation.  A check cashing business shall not be a part of, or located at the same business address with, a pawnshop, title pledge office and small loan company.  A check cashing business shall not be located within four hundred (400) feet of any military base.  Any check cashing business that is located within four hundred (400) feet of a military base on July 1, 2005, shall have until January 1, 2006, to relocate in order to comply with this paragraph.

          (b)  A check cashing business shall (i) have a definitive United States Postal address and E911 address; (ii) comply with local zoning requirements; (iii) have a minimum of one hundred (100) square feet with walls from floor to ceiling separating the operation from any other businesses; (iv) have an outside entrance, but may be located in an area that has a common lobby shared by other businesses as long as the customers do not enter the check cashing business through another business; (v) have proper signage; and (vi) maintain separate books and records.  Any licensee who does not cash any delayed deposit checks as authorized under Section 75-67-519 shall not be subject to the requirements of subparagraphs (i), (iii) and (iv) of this paragraph.

          (c)  A licensed check casher may sell, at the same location as his check cashing business, the following items and services:  money orders; income tax preparation service; copy service; wire transfer service; notary service; pagers; pager service; prepaid cellular service; debit card; prepaid telephone cards; prepaid telephone service; and operate a processing center where utility bills, credit card payments and other payments are collected from the general public and governmental and private payments are distributed.  If a licensee accepts wire transfers in the form of a direct deposit of a payroll check or other similar types of deposit, the licensee shall not encumber any transferred funds against a deferred deposit agreement or any delinquent deferred deposit agreement with the customer.  The commissioner may authorize additional functions in addition to those provided in this subsection that may be performed as part of a check cashing business.

          (d)  The commissioner may issue more than one (1) license to a person if that person complies with this article for each license.  A new license or application to transfer an existing license is required upon a change, directly or beneficially, in the ownership of any licensed check casher business and an application shall be made to the commissioner in accordance with this article.

     (2)  When a licensee wishes to move a check casher business to another location, the licensee shall give thirty (30) days' prior written notice to the commissioner who shall amend the license accordingly.

     (3)  Each license shall remain in full force and effect until relinquished, suspended, revoked or expired.  With each initial application for a license, the applicant shall pay the commissioner at the time of making the application a license fee of Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750.00), and on or before September 1 of each year thereafter, an annual renewal fee of Four Hundred Seventy-five Dollars ($475.00).  If the annual renewal fee remains unpaid twenty-nine (29) days after September 1, the license shall thereupon expire, but not before the thirtieth day of September of any year for which the annual fee has been paid.  If any licensee fails to pay the annual renewal fee before the thirtieth day of September of any year for which the renewal fee is due, then the licensee shall be liable for the full amount of the license fee, plus a penalty in an amount not to exceed Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) for each day that the licensee has engaged in business after September 30.  All licensing fees and penalties shall be paid into the Consumer Finance Fund of the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance.

     (4)  Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, the commissioner may issue a temporary license authorizing the operator of a check casher business on the receipt of an application for a license involving principals and owners that are substantially identical to those of an existing licensed check casher.  The temporary license is effective until the permanent license is issued or denied.

     (5)  Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, neither a new license nor an application to transfer an existing license shall be required upon any change, directly or beneficially, in the ownership of any licensed check casher business incorporated under the laws of this state or any other state as long as the licensee continues to operate as a corporation doing a check casher business under the license.  However, the commissioner may require the licensee to provide such information as he deems reasonable and appropriate concerning the officers and directors of the corporation and persons owning in excess of twenty-five percent (25%) of the outstanding shares of the corporation.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.