Installment Loans Frequently Asked Questions

The Installment Loans FAQs page is designed to assist potential and existing installment lender licensees with common questions about the various Georgia laws and Department regulations and policies applicable to the installment loan industry.

  • How do I create an account in NMLS?

    Please visit the NMLS Resource Center’s Getting Started Page to request an account.  A company that already has a license in NMLS does not have to request a new account to submit a transition application.

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  • Can I use the same NMLS account for more than one licensee?

    No.  You cannot use the same NMLS account for multiple installment lender licensees.  Each licensee must have its own separate NMLS account.

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  • What is my transition number?

    Your transition number is required when submitting a transition application so that you are not charged an application fee.  The transition number for your company license (main office) is the company’s GILA license number.  The transition number for your branch location is the branch’s GILA license number.  Please ensure that you enter the transition number correctly when submitting the application.

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  • What type of filing do I submit to transition my license?

    An MU1 filing must be submitted for any company licenses that are transitioning to NMLS.  An MU3 filing is required for branch locations and an MU2 filing is required for all control persons (owners and officers) and branch managers.

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  • What is the minimum surety bond coverage I am required to maintain?

    Each installment lender licensee must maintain a minimum coverage amount of $25,000, plus an additional $5,000 of coverage for each branch location. For example, if an installment lender licensee has a main office location and one branch location, the minimum coverage requirement would be $30,000 (the main office + 1 branch location = $25,000 + $5,000 = $30,000).  However, in no event, will the Department require an installment lender licensee to carry more than $100,000 in total coverage.

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  • Is the corporate surety bond a new requirement for companies that have an industrial loan license from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and have transitioned?

    Yes.  Companies that have an industrial loan license must acquire a surety bond with adequate coverage before the company transitions or applies for the installment lender company license in NMLS.   

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  • How much does a surety bond cost?

    The cost of a surety bond varies by insurance company and depends on the installment lender’s risk profile as determined by the insurance company.

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  • I have other company licenses issued by the Department. The corporate surety bond coverage for those licenses meets the minimum requirement for the installment lender license. Can I apply that bond coverage to the installment lender license?

    No.  The surety bond coverage for the installment lender license must be specific coverage for any claims against the company related to its installment loan business.

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  • My company is transitioning onto NMLS. What should the effective date of the corporate surety bond be?

    The effective date of the corporate surety bond can be any date between July 1, 2020 and the date of the company’s application to transition onto NMLS, which shall be completed no later than October 15, 2020.

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  • Am I required to maintain corporate surety bond coverage at all times when licensed as an installment lender by the Department?

    Yes.  Any lapse or cancellation in the company’s surety bond coverage will result in the Department issuing a Cease and Desist Order to the company and the company’s installment lender license  will expire if the surety bond is not renewed prior to the Cease and Desist Order becoming final.

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  • Can I have a paper corporate surety bond?

    No. All surety bonds must be in an electronic format that are acceptable through NMLS.  NMLS maintains a list of surety bond providers that offer electronic surety bonds.  The list can be found at

    https://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/news/Documents/Authorized%20Producers%20and%20Companies.pdf.   

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  • Do I have to submit a business plan for the transition?

    Yes.  A business plan must be submitted for the transition.  Please contact the Department through dbfgila@dbf.state.ga.us if you have specific questions concerning the business plan requirement.

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  • Do I have to complete the “Convenience and Advantage of the Community” section in the Business Locations Questionnaire if my company and locations are transitioning from an existing Industrial Loan license?

    No, the Convenience and Advantage section will not be required for a company or branch location transitioning onto NMLS.

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  • What if I have branch locations with different names and EINs from the main office?

    The NMLS system does not allow branch submissions that have different EINs and names from the main office.  Branches with different EINs must be transitioned as a company license instead of a branch location.  The relationship can still be shown between the main office and the new company license by completing the Affiliates/Subsidiaries section of the company MU1.  Alternatively, the branch locations can be restructured to fall under the main office’s EIN so that they can be entered in as branch locations in NMLS by filing an MU3.  If a branch location is going to operate under a name different than the main office location, the company must submit trade name registration documentation for the branch to do business under another name.

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  • Is a Branch Manager Agreement required to transition a branch location?

    No, a Branch Manager Agreement will not be required to transition a branch location on to NMLS.

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  • I have decided that I want to surrender my industrial loan license by year end 2020. Do I still need to transition onto NMLS?

    Any company that intends to cease operating as a licensed installment lender by the end of this calendar year and does not want to transition onto the NMLS system should contact the Department of Banking and Finance as soon as possible at 770-986-5036 or via email at dbfgila@dbf.state.ga.us.

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  • I want to open a new branch location to conduct installment lending business. What do I do?

    If the new branch will be located in Georgia, a licensee must submit an application for the new branch location in NMLS.  Guidelines and checklists are available in NMLS to help guide licensees through the branch application process.  Out of state branch locations do not require Department approval.

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  • I want to relocate an existing branch located in Georgia to another location in Georgia.

    The Department must approve the relocation of any Georgia branch.  The licensee must notify the Department of the branch relocation in NMLS by submitting an amendment to the branch location’s physical address.  Depending on the circumstances, the Department may request additional information related to the relocation.  The Department may also request that the licensee submit a copy of any new lease agreement for the new address if applicable. In addition, the Department may waive the convenience and advantage analysis if the branch is relocating within the same community.

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  • I want to permanently close a branch location. What do I do?

    The licensee must submit a branch surrender request in NMLS.  Please refer to the NMLS Installment Lender licensee branch checklists and guidance for more information on surrendering a branch.

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  • Will there be a “closing” examination of a branch?

    No.  The Department will not conduct a closing examination on any branch location that is scheduled to be closed.  The licensed company will be responsible for regulatory reporting and maintenance of records for any closed branch for the time period set forth in the Department’s rules.

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  • So a licensed company is required to retain the branch’s records after it closes?

    Yes.  Refer to Department Rule Chapter 80-14-2 for more information on recordkeeping requirements.

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  • Does my company have to submit advertising and marketing materials to the Department for approval prior to dissemination?

    No, installment lender licensees are not required to submit advertising and marketing materials to the Department for approval prior to dissemination.  However, all advertising and marketing materials must comply with applicable advertising laws and regulations in the Georgia Installment Loan Act and Department Rule 80-14-1-.04.  The Department encourages each licensed company to implement policies, procedures, and processes to review, monitor, and control all advertising and marketing materials, including company websites and other electronic mediums, to ensure compliance with applicable advertising laws and regulations.

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  • Where do I place my company’s NMLS unique identifier in the advertisement or our website?

    Department Rule 80-14-1-.04 does not contain specific language concerning the placement of the NMLS unique identifier (NMLS ID) in an advertisement item, only that it must be included.  A common method to display the NMLS identifier is “NMLS# XXXXX”.  For websites, the NMLS ID should be easily viewable or accessible to the visitor.  If the NMLS ID is not displayed on the home page, the licensee should provide a link to a page where the company’s NMLS ID can be viewed.

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  • Can I use a dba name or shortened version of my company’s name instead of the full company name (Example “ABC Company” rather than “ABC Company, LLC”) in an advertisement?

    Yes; however, any d/b/a or trade name must be appropriately registered through the applicable Superior Court and must be listed as a trade name in the company’s profile in NMLS.  Additional information concerning Other Trade Names can be found on the Installment Lender License Amendment Checklist in NMLS.

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  • Can I be fined for omitting information in my advertising items?

    Yes.  Violations of the advertising requirements in the Act or Department Rule 80-14-1-.04 subject a licensee to a fine of five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation of law or rule. 

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  • Do covered employees only include employees who work in the state of Georgia?

    No.  Covered employees can include any employees engaged in the function of making installment loans regardless of where located.

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  • My company has employees that do not make installment loans but may talk to customers about their specific installment loan and accept payments or debit/credit card information to transact a payment.

    Employees that interact with customers and have access to customer loan information could be considered a covered employee under GILA if the employee’s activity is considered to be engaging in the installment loan business.  Department Rule 80-14-1-.03 provides some clarification on what may constitute engagement in the installment loan business.

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  • I have discovered that one of my existing covered employees that was hired prior to July 1, 2020 has a felony conviction on their record. What next?

    Under GILA, an installment lender licensee may not legally employ a convicted felon unless the person has remedied the conviction as provided in O.C.G.A. § 7-3-42, such as by a pardon or completion of first offender requirements before the date of hire.  If an installment lender licensee finds that an existing covered employee is a convicted felon, the Department encourages the licensee to contact the Department by phone as soon as possible at 770-986-5036 or 770-986-1136 to notify us of the situation and to discuss next steps.  Failure by the company to take immediate action to move towards compliance may result in administrative fines and penalties.

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  • The Industrial Loan Portal is closed. How do I submit tax payments?

    All installment lender licensees will remit tax payments on a semi-annual basis through on online portal established by the Department of Banking and Finance by January 1, 2021.  Additional information regarding the new schedule and deadlines may be found in Rule 80-5-1-.08.  The portal will allow licensees to remit payment by credit card or electronic ACH transfer.  Please do not submit any payment for tax liabilities incurred between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 until after January 1, 2021.

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  • Can I pay the tax with a paper check made out to the Department of Banking and Finance?

    The Department will not accept any tax payments made by paper check that are either sent to the Department or sent to the Commissioner of Insurance.  Any checks or payments will be sent back to the licensee.

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  • What if I closed my business and/or sold my company’s loans after July 1, 2020 but before the end of the calendar year? Will I still need to pay taxes after January 1, 2021?

    Yes.  A licensee will remain responsible for payment of all tax liabilities incurred from July 1, 2020 until the date its installment loan assets are sold or transferred, or all loans are paid in full.

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  • Will my company submit a report showing the tax liability and tax calculations like it did for the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance?

    No.  There will not be a paper or electronic report to complete and submit with the tax payment.  The online portal will request some basic company information along with certain information related to the underlying liability in order to complete the payment process.  However, documentation supporting the underlying calculation must be maintained by the licensee for review purposes.

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  • How often will my company pay the taxes due?

    Twice per year.  All tax liabilities incurred for the six-month period between January 1 and June 30 will be payable between July and September of the same year.  All tax liabilities incurred for the six-month period between July and December will be payable between January and March of the following year.

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  • My locations were usually examined twice every year. Will my company still be examined twice a year?

    By law, the Department can conduct an examination once every 60 months (5 years).  Further, there is not a statutory requirement that the Department conduct the examination of any licensee on the licensee’s premises.  Under its authority, the Department may elect to conduct an examination of a licensee more frequently or conduct some or all of an examination at a main office location or branch location. 

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  • Will examiners still visit my operating locations?

    Not routinely.  However, the Department may visit a main office or branch location at any time pursuant to its regulatory authority under state law.

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  • What is the examination fee for an examination?

    The examination fee is the fee assessed by the Department for the time spent by the exam team and reviewing examiners on the licensee’s examination.  The minimum exam fee is $500.  Exam fees are calculated by aggregating the number of hours each examiner spent working the examination and multiplying the total hours by an hourly rate of $65.00 per hour. (For example, an examination might require 10 examiner hours to complete.  The licensee would be assessed an examination fee of $650 based on the $65.00 rate multiplied by 10 total hours.)

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  • How will I pay my examination fee?

    Examination fees are assessed and paid through NMLS.  An invoice will be posted to the company’s NMLS license for the examination fee.  Examination fees are due immediately upon receipt of the invoice.  The examination fee must be paid by the licensee through NMLS.

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  • What if I do not pay my examination fee?

    All unpaid fees (as well as any unpaid fines) must be paid prior to renewal of the installment lender license or before the Department will act on any application or request that requires Department approval.  The Department will not renew any installment loan license that has an unpaid fee invoice attached to its license.

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  • Will installment lender licensees be required to submit a report of activity each quarter to the Department of Banking and Finance?

    Yes.  The Department will require each installment loan licensee to submit a quarterly report of installment lending activity to the Department no later than 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter.  The quarterly report format will be finalized by the Department in the very near future.  When the quarterly report form is finalized and available for download, the Department will provide notice on the Department’s website and through an email to the installment loan companies.  At first, the quarterly report will be submitted by licensees to the Department through the Department’s file sharing system.  Ultimately, the quarterly reports will be submitted to the Department through NMLS.

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  • What happens if my company does not submit this quarterly activity report on time?

    Initially, the Department does not intend to assess fines to companies who file the quarterly activity report late.  However, per the Department’s Rules, installment lender licensees who fail to file the quarterly report with the Department within 45 days of the end of calendar quarter will be subject to a fine of $100.  Failure to repeatedly file the quarterly report on time may result in administrative action against the licensee, including revocation of the installment lender license.

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  • What if I find an error on a quarterly activity report that I previously submitted on time? Can I file a corrected report without being assessed a fine?

    Generally, yes.  However, licensees are expected to take steps to limit errors and implement review processes to ensure accuracy.  Failure to file accurate reports could also result in fines and penalties.

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