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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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   

  • What is required if my company is undergoing an ownership change, merger, acquisition of assets, or other type of change in control?

    The requirements for a change in control depends on the type of transaction taking place.  Please review the Guidance for Installment Lender Changes in Control document for details on the various requirements.  The How Do I Update/Amend My Installment Lender Record section also provides guidance on the requirements for changes in control. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • How do I submit a location manager change?

    Whether submitting a location manager change at a main office or an approved branch, all location manager changes are submitted via the NMLS and are subject to Department approval, but the Department must receive a completed application within 15 calendar days of the placement.  Please refer to the GA Installment Lender Branch Approval Amendment checklist NMLS in the “State Licensing Requirements” section.

  • 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.

  • Will there be a “close-out” examination of a surrendered license or branch?

    No.  The Department will not conduct a “close-out” examination on any branch location or license that is scheduled to be surrendered.  The licensed company will be responsible for regulatory reporting and maintenance of records for the time period set forth in the Department’s rules.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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. Are these employees considered “covered employees”?

    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.

  • What if I closed my business and/or sold my company’s loans during the year? Will I still need to file a Quarterly Activity Report and remit per loan fees after I have closed?

    Yes.  A licensee will remain responsible for payment of all per loan fee liabilities incurred from the end of the prior semi -annual period. A Quarterly Activity Report will be required at the end of the quarter in which its installment loan assets are sold or transferred, or all loans are paid in full.

  • How often will my company be required to remit per loan fees?

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

  • What is the examination fee?

    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 examination fee is $500.  Examination fees are calculated by aggregating the number of hours each examiner spent working the examination and multiplying the aggregate 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.)

  • 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.

  • 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.