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SB-577 Escrow agents.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/18/2021 09:00 PM
SB577:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 577


Introduced by Senator Limón

February 18, 2021


An act to amend Sections 17202.1 and 17414.1 of the Financial Code, relating to financial institutions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 577, as introduced, Limón. Escrow agents.
Existing law provides for the licensing and regulation of escrow agents by the Commissioner of Business Oversight and authorizes an applicant for an escrow agent’s license or a licensee, in lieu of depositing a required bond, to deposit with the commissioner a cash bond that is evidenced, as specified.
Existing law prohibits a person who has been convicted of or pleaded nolo contendere to specified crimes within the past 10 years, or who has been held liable in any civil action, as provided, within the past 7 years, from serving in any capacity as an officer, director, stockholder, trustee, agent, or employee of an escrow agent, or in any position involving any duties with an escrow agent, except as specified.
This bill would correct obsolete references in those provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 17202.1 of the Financial Code is amended to read:

17202.1.
 An applicant for an escrow agent’s license or a licensee may, in lieu of and subject to the same conditions as the bond required by Section 17202, deposit with the commissioner a cash bond in the sum specified in Section 17202. Evidence of the cash bond shall be a deposit in the amount specified in Section 17202 in a bank or investment certificates of industrial loan companies, authorized to do business in this state and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or an investment certificate or share account in the amount specified in Section 17202 issued by a savings and loan association doing business in this state and insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation. Deposit Insurance Corporation. Those deposits, certificates, or accounts shall be assigned to and accepted and maintained by the commissioner, upon those terms as the commissioner may prescribe, until released by the commissioner, and shall not be deemed an asset of the applicant or licensee for the purpose of complying with Section 17210.

SEC. 2.

 Section 17414.1 of the Financial Code is amended to read:

17414.1.
 (a) Any person who has been convicted of or pleaded nolo contendere to any crime specified in subdivision (b) within the past 10 years, or has been held liable in any civil action by final judgment or any administrative judgment by any public agency within the past seven years, of any of the provisions specified in subdivision (b), shall not serve in any capacity as an officer, director, stockholder, trustee, agent, or employee of an escrow agent, or in any position involving any duties with an escrow agent, in this state. This subdivision shall not apply to any person whose office, employment, ownership interest, or other participation in the business of a licensed escrow agent commenced prior to January 1, 1992.
(b) Subdivision (a) applies to criminal convictions of, pleas of nolo contendere to, or civil or administrative judgments entered for offenses including the following:
(1) Offenses specified in Chapter 18 (commencing with Section 3350) of Division 1. Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 1320) of Division 1.1.
(2) Offenses specified in Article 4 (commencing with Section 5300) of Chapter 1 of Division 2.
(3) Offenses specified in Article 8 (commencing with Section 14750) of Chapter 4 of Division 5.
(4) Offenses specified in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 17400), and Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 6.
(5) Offenses specified in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 18435) of Division 7.
(6) Offenses specified in provisions of the laws of the United States added or amended by the federal Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (Public Law 101-73).
(7) Offenses involving robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, fraud, fraudulent conversion or misappropriation of property, forgery, bookmaking, receiving stolen property, counterfeiting, controlled substances, extortion, checks, credit cards, or computer violations specified in Section 502 of the Penal Code.
For the purpose of this section, but not Section 17423, an offense does not include a conviction for which the person has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation from a court of competent jurisdiction under Section 1203.4 or 4852.13 of the Penal Code or a similar certificate of rehabilitation obtained in a foreign jurisdiction.
(c) On and after January 1, 1992, any person who seeks employment by, or an ownership interest in, or other participation in the business of a licensed escrow agent shall, as a condition to obtaining that employment, interest, or participation, authorize Fidelity Corporation and the commissioner, or both, to have access to that person’s state and federal summary criminal history information, as defined in Section 11105 of the Penal Code, for purposes of determining whether the person has a prior conviction of, or pleaded nolo contendere to, a criminal offense specified in subdivision (b).
(d) On or before the 10th day of employment, each escrow agent shall obtain and forward to the commissioner the fingerprint images and related information of persons seeking employment by an escrow agent. The fingerprint images and related information may be submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested, or transmitted electronically, using the process established by the Department of Justice for requesting state and federal summary criminal history information. Persons who have previously submitted fingerprints or fingerprint images and related information to the commissioner may so notify the commissioner and need not submit additional fingerprint images and related information unless requested to do so by the commissioner. The commissioner shall provide written notice to both the escrow agent and to the person if any of the information received pursuant to this division shows that the person’s employment would be in violation of Section 17414.1, and the escrow agent shall deny the person the employment. No person whose employment is in violation of subdivision (a) shall have access to trust funds or sign checks or otherwise perform any activities related to the processing of escrow transactions after the licensed escrow agent has been notified by the commissioner that the person’s employment is in violation of subdivision (a).
(e) Any state and federal summary criminal history information obtained pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and no recipient shall disclose the contents other than for the purpose of determining eligibility for employment by, or acquisition of an ownership interest in, or other participation in the business of a licensed escrow agent.
(f) The authority granted by this section to the commissioner or to Fidelity Corporation shall be in addition to any other authority granted by law to obtain information about any person who is subject to this division. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any authority of the commissioner or Fidelity Corporation otherwise provided by law.
(g) Any person who knowingly violates subdivision (a) or (d), including, but not limited to, any escrow agent who permits employment by, or an ownership interest in, or other participation in the business of an escrow agent in violation of subdivision (a) or (d) shall, upon conviction, be subject to punishment as set forth in Section 17700. Any person who knows of a violation of subdivision (a) or (d) shall immediately report the violation in writing to the commissioner. No person shall be civilly liable for reporting as required under this subdivision, unless the information provided in the report is false and the person providing false information does so with knowledge and malice. The reports filed under this section, including the identity of the person making the filing, shall remain confidential pursuant to state law.
(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the reinstatement of any person barred by the commissioner pursuant to Section 17423 nor to prohibit the commissioner from bringing any action pursuant to Section 17423.
(i) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this section which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.