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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 494
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F.S. 494.001
494.001 Definitions.As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Borrower” means a person obligated to repay a mortgage loan and includes, but is not limited to, a coborrower or cosignor.
(2) “Branch manager” means the licensed loan originator in charge of, and responsible for, the operation of the branch office of a mortgage broker or mortgage lender.
(3) “Branch office” means a location, other than a mortgage broker’s or mortgage lender’s principal place of business or remote location:
(a) The address of which appears on business cards, stationery, or advertising used by the licensee in connection with business conducted under this chapter;
(b) At which the licensee’s name, advertising or promotional materials, or signage suggests that mortgage loans are originated, negotiated, funded, or serviced; or
(c) At which mortgage loans are originated, negotiated, funded, or serviced by a licensee.
(4) “Business purpose loan” means a mortgage loan, the proceeds of which the borrower intends to use primarily for a business purpose and not primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose. In determining if the loan is for a business purpose, a person must refer to the official interpretation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of 12 C.F.R. s. 1026.3(a).
(5) “Commission” means the Financial Services Commission.
(6) “Contract loan processor” means an individual who is licensed under part II of this chapter as a loan originator, who is an independent contractor for a mortgage broker or mortgage lender, and who engages only in loan processing.
(7) “Control person” means an individual, partnership, corporation, trust, or other organization that possesses the power, directly or indirectly, to direct the management or policies of a company, whether through ownership of securities, by contract, or otherwise. The term includes, but is not limited to:
(a) A company’s executive officers, including the president, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operations officer, chief legal officer, chief compliance officer, director, and other individuals having similar status or functions.
(b) For a corporation, each shareholder that, directly or indirectly, owns 10 percent or more or that has the power to vote 10 percent or more, of a class of voting securities unless the applicant is a publicly traded company.
(c) For a partnership, all general partners and limited or special partners that have contributed 10 percent or more or that have the right to receive, upon dissolution, 10 percent or more of the partnership’s capital.
(d) For a trust, each trustee.
(e) For a limited liability company, all elected managers and those members that have contributed 10 percent or more or that have the right to receive, upon dissolution, 10 percent or more of the partnership’s capital.
(f) Principal loan originators.
(8) “Credit report” means any written, oral, or other information obtained from a consumer reporting agency as described in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, which bears on an individual’s credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity. A credit score alone, as calculated by the reporting agency, is not considered a credit report.
(9) “Credit score” means a score, grade, or value that is derived by using data from a credit report in any type of model, method, or program, whether electronically, in an algorithm, in a computer software or program, or by any other process for the purpose of grading or ranking credit report data.
(10) “Depository institution” has the same meaning as in s. (3)(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, and includes any credit union.
(11) “Financial audit report” means a report prepared in connection with a financial audit that is conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards prescribed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants by a certified public accountant licensed to do business in the United States, and which must include:
(a) Financial statements, including notes related to the financial statements and required supplementary information, prepared in conformity with United States generally accepted accounting principles.
(b) An expression of opinion regarding whether the financial statements are presented in conformity with United States generally accepted accounting principles, or an assertion to the effect that such an opinion cannot be expressed and the reasons.
(12) “In-house loan processor” means an individual who is an employee of a mortgage broker or a mortgage lender who engages only in loan processing.
(13) “Indirect owner” means, with respect to direct owners and other indirect owners in a multilayered organization:
(a) For an owner that is a corporation, each of its shareholders that beneficially owns, has the right to vote, or has the power to sell or direct the sale of, 25 percent or more of voting security of the corporation.
(b) For an owner that is a partnership, each general partner and each limited or special partner that has the right to receive upon dissolution, or has contributed, 25 percent or more of the partnership’s capital.
(c) For an owner that is a trust, the trust and each trustee.
(d) For an owner that is a limited liability company:
1. Each member that has the right to receive upon dissolution, or that has contributed, 25 percent or more of the limited liability company’s capital; and
2. If managed by elected managers or appointed managers, each elected or appointed manager.
(e) For an indirect owner, each parent owner of 25 percent or more of its subsidiary.
(14) “Institutional investor” means a depository institution, real estate investment trust, insurance company, real estate company, accredited investor as defined in 17 C.F.R. ss. 230.501 et seq., mortgage broker or mortgage lender licensed under this chapter, or other business entity that invests in mortgage loans, including a secondary mortgage market institution including, without limitation, the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, and the Government National Mortgage Association, conduits, investment bankers, and any subsidiary of such entities.
(15) “Loan commitment” or “commitment” means a statement by the lender setting forth the terms and conditions upon which the lender is willing to make a particular mortgage loan to a particular borrower.
(16) “Loan modification” means a modification to an existing loan. The term does not include a refinancing transaction.
(17) “Loan origination fee” means the total compensation from any source received by a mortgage broker acting as a loan originator.
(18) “Loan originator” means an individual who, directly or indirectly, solicits or offers to solicit a mortgage loan, accepts or offers to accept an application for a mortgage loan, negotiates or offers to negotiate the terms or conditions of a new or existing mortgage loan on behalf of a borrower or lender, or negotiates or offers to negotiate the sale of an existing mortgage loan to a noninstitutional investor for compensation or gain. The term includes an individual who is required to be licensed as a loan originator under the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008. The term does not include an employee of a mortgage broker or mortgage lender whose duties are limited to physically handling a completed application form or transmitting a completed application form to a lender on behalf of a prospective borrower.
(19) “Loan processing” means:
(a) Receiving, collecting, distributing, and analyzing information common for the processing of a mortgage loan; or
(b) Communicating with a consumer to obtain information necessary for the processing of a mortgage loan if such communication does not include offering or negotiating loan rates or terms, or counseling consumers about residential mortgage loan rates or terms.
(20) “Lock-in agreement” means an agreement whereby the lender guarantees for a specified number of days or until a specified date the availability of a specified rate of interest or specified formula by which the rate of interest will be determined or specific number of discount points will be given, if the loan is approved and closed within the stated period of time.
(21) “Making a mortgage loan” means closing a mortgage loan in a person’s name, advancing funds, offering to advance funds, or making a commitment to advance funds to an applicant for a mortgage loan.
(22) “Material change” means a change that would be important to a reasonable borrower in making a borrowing decision, and includes a change in the interest rate previously offered a borrower, a change in the type of loan offered to a borrower, or a change in fees to be charged to a borrower resulting in total fees greater than $100.
(23) “Mortgage broker” means a person conducting loan originator activities through one or more licensed loan originators employed by the mortgage broker or as independent contractors to the mortgage broker.
(24) “Mortgage lender” means a person making a mortgage loan or servicing a mortgage loan for others, or, for compensation or gain, directly or indirectly, selling or offering to sell a mortgage loan to a noninstitutional investor.
(25) “Mortgage loan” means any:
(a) Residential loan primarily for personal, family, or household use which is secured by a mortgage, deed of trust, or other equivalent consensual security interest on a dwelling, as defined in s. 103(v) of the federal Truth in Lending Act, or for the purchase of residential real estate upon which a dwelling is to be constructed;
(b) Loan on commercial real property if the borrower is an individual or the lender is a noninstitutional investor; or
(c) Loan on improved real property consisting of five or more dwelling units if the borrower is an individual or the lender is a noninstitutional investor.
(26) “Mortgage loan application” means the submission of a borrower’s financial information in anticipation of a credit decision, which includes the borrower’s name, the borrower’s monthly income, the borrower’s social security number to obtain a credit report, the property address, an estimate of the value of the property, the mortgage loan amount sought, and any other information deemed necessary by the loan originator. An application may be in writing or electronically submitted, including a written record of an oral application.
(27) “Net worth” means total assets minus total liabilities pursuant to United States generally accepted accounting principles.
(28) “Noninstitutional investor” means an investor other than an institutional investor.
(29) “Office” means the Office of Financial Regulation.
(30) “Principal loan originator” means the licensed loan originator in charge of, and responsible for, the operation of a mortgage lender or mortgage broker, including all of the activities of the mortgage lender’s or mortgage broker’s loan originators, in-house loan processors, and branch managers, whether employees or independent contractors.
(31) “Principal place of business” means a mortgage broker’s or mortgage lender’s primary business office, the street address, or physical location that is designated on the application for licensure or any amendment to such application.
(32) “Registered loan originator” means a loan originator who is employed by a depository institution, by a subsidiary that is owned and controlled by a depository institution and regulated by a federal banking agency, or by an institution regulated by the Farm Credit Administration, and who is registered with and maintains a unique identifier through the registry.
(33) “Registry” means the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry, which is the mortgage licensing system developed and maintained by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators for the licensing and registration of loan originators.
(34) “Relative” means any of the following, whether by the full or half blood or by adoption:
(a) A person’s spouse, father, mother, children, brothers, and sisters.
(b) The father, mother, brothers, and sisters of the person’s spouse.
(c) The spouses of the person’s children, brothers, or sisters.
(35) “Remote location” means a location, other than a principal place of business or a branch office, at which a loan originator of a licensee may conduct business. A licensee may allow loan originators to work from remote locations if:
(a) The licensee has written policies and procedures for supervision of loan originators working from remote locations.
(b) Access to company platforms and customer information is in accordance with the licensee’s comprehensive written information security plan.
(c) An in-person customer interaction does not occur at a loan originator’s residence unless such residence is a licensed location.
(d) Physical records are not maintained at a remote location.
(e) Customer interactions and conversations about consumers will be in compliance with federal and state information security requirements, including applicable provisions under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Safeguards Rule established by the Federal Trade Commission, set forth at 16 C.F.R. part 314, as such requirements may be amended from time to time.
(f) A loan originator working at a remote location accesses the company’s secure systems or documents, including a cloud-based system, directly from any out-of-office device such as a laptop, phone, desktop computer, or tablet, through a virtual private network or system that ensures secure connectivity and that requires passwords or other forms of authentication to access.
(g) The licensee ensures that appropriate security updates, patches, or other alterations to the security of all devices used at remote locations are installed and maintained.
(h) The licensee is able to remotely lock or erase company-related contents of any device or otherwise remotely limit all access to a company’s secure systems.
(i) The registry’s record of a loan originator who works from a remote location designates the principal place of business as the loan originator’s registered location, or the loan originator has elected a licensed branch office as a registered location.
(36) “Servicing endorsement” means authorizing a mortgage lender to service a loan for more than 4 months.
(37) “Servicing a mortgage loan” means to receive, cause to be received, or transferred for another, installment payments of principal, interest, or other payments pursuant to a mortgage loan.
(38) “Substantial fault of the borrower” means that the borrower:
(a) Failed to provide information or documentation required by the lender or broker in a timely manner;
(b) Provided information, in the application or subsequently, which upon verification proved to be significantly inaccurate, causing the need for review or further investigation by the lender or broker;
(c) Failed to produce by the date specified by the lender all documentation specified in the commitment or closing instructions as being required for closing; or
(d) Failed to be ready, willing, or able to close the loan by the date specified by the lender or broker.

For purposes of this definition, a borrower is considered to have provided information or documentation in a timely manner if such information and documentation was received by the lender within 7 days after the borrower received a request for same, and information is considered significantly inaccurate if the correct information materially affects the eligibility of the borrower for the loan for which application is made.

(39) “Ultimate equitable owner” means an individual who, directly or indirectly, owns or controls an ownership interest in a corporation, a foreign corporation, an alien business organization, or any other form of business organization, regardless of whether the individual owns or controls such interest through one or more individuals or one or more proxies, powers of attorney, nominees, corporations, associations, partnerships, trusts, joint stock companies, or other entities or devices, or any combination thereof. 1, 50, ch. 91-245; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1, ch. 95-313; s. 1, ch. 99-213; s. 1, ch. 2001-228; s. 513, ch. 2003-261; s. 1, ch. 2006-213; s. 1, ch. 2007-182; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2009-241; s. 1, ch. 2011-71; s. 35, ch. 2014-91; s. 1, ch. 2018-61; s. 1, ch. 2023-130.