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.