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CS/HB 1277 — Money Services Businesses

by Insurance and Banking Subcommittee and Rep. Davis (CS/CS SB 1586 Budget Subcommittee on General Government Appropriations, Banking and Insurance Committee and Senator Thrasher)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Banking and Insurance Committee (BI)

Money services businesses (MSBs), also known as money transmitters, offer financial services, such as check cashing, money transmittals (wire transfers), sales of monetary instruments, and currency exchange outside the traditional banking environment. The Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) is responsible for the regulation of money services businesses.

In August 2007, the Supreme Court of Florida ordered the empanelment of a statewide grand jury to investigate various criminal offenses, including activities relating to check cashers. In 2008, the grand jury issued its report: Check Cashers: A Call for Enforcement. In 2008, the Legislature enacted major reforms recommended in the report to provide greater regulatory and enforcement tools for the OFR.

In 2011, the Chief Financial Officer formed the Money Service Business Facilitated Workers’ Compensation Work Group (work group) to study the issue of workers' compensation insurance premium fraud facilitated by check cashers. Currently, legitimate contractors are placed at a significant competitive disadvantage by unscrupulous contractors avoiding the payment of workers’ compensation insurance, as well as state and federal employment taxes. The bill incorporates the following consensus recommendations of the work group to provide increased regulatory oversight of MSBs that are designed to provide greater prevention, detection, and prosecution of workers’ compensation premium fraud:

  • Requires licensees to maintain and deposit all checks accepted into a bank account in its own name and to report the termination of bank accounts to the OFR within 5 business days.
  • Prohibits any money services business, its authorized vendor, or affiliated party to possess any fraudulent identification paraphernalia, or for someone other than the person who is presenting the check for payment to provide the customer's personal identification information to the check casher. A person who willfully violates these provisions commits a felony of the third degree.
  • Authorizes the OFR to issue a cease and desist order; issue a removal order; the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license or any other action permitted by ch. 560, F.S., for noncompliance with the following: maintaining a federally insured depository account; depositing all checks accepted into its depository account; or submitting transactional information to the office.
  • Requires a licensee to suspend its check cashing operations immediately if there is any interruption in its depository relationship and prohibits the resumption of check cashing operations until the licensee has secured a new depository relationship

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2012.

Vote: Senate 40-0; House 115-0