California Finance Lenders Law
The California Finance Lenders Law is contained in Division 9 of the California Financial Code, commencing with Section 22000.(Financial Code § 22000 et seq.) requires licensing and regulation of finance lenders and brokers making and brokering consumer and commercial loans, except as specified; prohibits misrepresentations, fraudulent and deceptive acts in connection with making and brokering of loans; and provides administrative, civil (injunction and ancillary relief) and criminal remedies for violations of the law.
The regulations under the California Finance Lenders Law are contained in Chapter 3, Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations, commencing with Section 1404 (10 C.C.R. §1404, et seq.).
Finance lenders and brokers, by number of licensees and dollars of loans originated, is the largest group of financial service providers regulated by the Department. A finance lender is defined in the law as "any person who is engaged in the business of making consumer loans or making commercial loans." A finance lenders license provides the licensee with an exemption from the usury provision of the California Constitution.
There are a number of "non-loan" transactions, such as bona fide leases, automobile sales finance contracts (Rees-Levering Motor Vehicle Sales and Finance Act) and retail installment sales (Unruh Act), that are not subject to the provisions of the California Finance Lenders Law.
In addition to the lending authority provided by the law, the California Finance Lenders Law provides limited brokering authority. A "broker" is defined in the law as "any person engaged in the business of negotiating or performing any act as broker in connection with loans made by a finance lender." Brokers licensed under this law may only broker loans to lenders that hold a California Finance Lenders license.
The requirements for a license are set forth in Section 22100, et seq. of the California Financial Code. The law requires applicants to have and maintain a minimum net worth of at least $25,000 and to obtain and maintain a $25,000 surety bond. In general, principals of the company may not have a criminal history or a history of non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
Affordable Credit-Building Opportunities Pilot Program: Senate Bill 1146 (2010) creates a small loan program, the Pilot Program for Affordable Credit-Building Opportunities, under the California Finance Lenders Law. More information about this pilot program can be found here.