Client Alert

Proposed amendment to the Money Services Act to require filing with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry Forms and to limit the bond amount for offices opened in Puerto Rico

By: Myrna I. Lozada Guzmán, Esq.

September 1, 2019

On March 31, 2019, the Puerto Rico Senate filed Senate Bill No. 1209 (P. del S. 1209) to standardize Puerto Rico's money transfer system, which is regulated by Act No. 136 of September 21, 2010. 

Senate Bill 1206 seeks to amend Section 2.2 of Act No. 136 to require that all applicants of a license to provide money transfer services must file an application with the Puerto Rico Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions ("OCIF", by its Spanish acronym) through the system provided by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry ("NMLS").  The NMLS is the U.S.  nationwide registry and licensing system that centralizes all the information of statewide licensees that engage in several financial activities.  The NMLS registration allows direct access to the applicants' and licensees' files by all state regulators, financial industry participants, and the general public.

In addition, Senate Bill 1206 proposes an amendment to Section 3.4 of Act No. 136 to incentivize new money service businesses, many of which are small money transfer offices and check-cashing kiosks.  The proposed amendment will establish a maximum limit in the amount of the bond requirement, which is currently $500,000 for the main office and $10,000 for each additional office.  If approved, the maximum amount of the bond, regardless of the number of offices established in Puerto Rico, will not exceed $2,000,000 per licensee.  

Senate Bill 1206 was approved by the Senate on June 17, 2019.  It was forwarded to the House of Representatives Consumer, Banking and Insurance Commission, which approved the first report.  The Bill was forwarded to the Calendar Commission on August 22, 2019 for further legislative action.  The Bill is expected to be finally considered in the legislative session that commenced on the third week of August of 2019.  If approved, all applicants of a money service license will be subject to the NMLS registration and will also benefit from the $2,000,000 limit in the maximum amount of the bond, regardless of the offices it may open in Puerto Rico.

Goldman Antonetti & Córdova, LLC stands ready to assist all money transfer businesses in complying with the above requirements.

If you have any questions related to this area, please contact the following members of our Firm:

Myrna Lozada, Esq.
Francisco Dox, Esq.
Alicia Lamboy, Esq.
Gretchen Méndez, Esq.
William Morales, Esq.
Thelma Rivera, Esq.
Arnaldo Villamil, Esq.

Disclaimer:   Although the information included in this document may concern legal issues, it is not a legal opinion or professional advice and clients shall not use it as such. We assume no responsibility or liability of any kind for any information contained herein, and we expressly disclaim all liability for any claim for damages arising from the use, reference to, or reliance on, such information. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.