- Any motor vehicle dealer who sells motor vehicles under or subject to a retail installment contract and holds the retail installment contract must obtain a license, pursuant to MGL c. 255B, as a “Motor Vehicle Sales Finance Company" from the Massachusetts Division of Banks (Division).
- The licensing requirement applies even if a dealer claims to finance the sale without charging any interest, finance charges, or fees to a buyer.
- The licensing requirement applies to retail installment sales contracts which are signed by buyers in Massachusetts.
- The MassDOT, Registry of Motor Vehicles will not allow a motor vehicle dealer engaged in the business of a sales finance company to obtain a lien code unless the dealer holds a valid license with the Division. If the dealer already has a lien code and engages in “buy here pay here” sales without being licensed by the Division of Banks, the RMV can block the existing lien code and refuse further activity.
- Motor vehicle dealers that enter into so-called “motor vehicle lease agreements” with consumers may be required to obtain a license as a sales finance company licensee. See the Division’s Industry Letter on the Applicability Of Licensing Requirements To Motor Vehicle "Leasing" Companies, which is available on the Division’s website www.mass.gov/dob, for more information.
WHAT TO DO
- If you are a motor vehicle dealer engaged in motor vehicle financing as described, without a license from the Division of Banks, you must immediately cease the activity and contact the Division to discuss your options. You will be asked to provide the Division with information relating to executed contracts and sign an affidavit stating you have ceased entering into any additional contracts.
- You must either demonstrate to the Division's satisfaction that you are not subject to the licensing provisions of the law, or you must file an application and obtain a license to operate as a motor vehicle sales finance company.
Anyone seeking information or having additional questions regarding motor vehicle sales finance companies may contact the Division at (617) 956-1500 ext. 585, or email Nicholas.Nepveu@state.ma.us.or Nicole.Bullock@state.ma.us
LICENSE APPLICATION PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS
- To obtain a Motor Vehicle Sales Finance Company license an applicant must submit an application through the Nationwide Multi-State Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). To access NMLS go to www.nationwidelicensingsystem.org In order to gain access to NMLS for the first time you must complete a Company Account Request Form and identify a Primary Account Administrator and a Secondary Account Administrator. Once you complete and submit this form, the Primary Account Administrator will receive NMLS login information within 3 business days. The Primary Account Administrator for your company will have full rights to (1) access the system, (2) submit information to this Agency and other participating state regulators, and (3) set up other company users in the system.
Instructions and tutorials on how to access and use NMLS are also available on the NMLS Resource Center, available at http://www.nationwidelicensingsystem.org. You are highly encouraged to review these helpful documents.
The total License costs is $1,300 which includes a one-time Investigation Fee. A $15 fee for a credit report will be added if one has not been authorized through NMLS in the past 30 days for each required control person. All fees collected through NMLS are non refundable.
- Among other requirements, the Division reviews an applicant’s business plan and financial statements; and the backgrounds and other personal information of its officers, members, directors and owners. The Division strongly recommends you thoroughly review and ensure you have all items available listed on the Application checklist prior to submitting an application.
- Applicants must exhibit a net worth of not less than $20,000, in accordance with the definition outlined in regulation 209 CMR 20.02.
LICENSE MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS
- Once an applicant is approved, the cost of the license is $1,000 annually. Licenses expire annually and each year licensees must submit renewal applications through NMLS and be approved by the Division to conduct business for the next year.
- Licensed motor vehicle sales finance companies must annually submit financial statements which have been either audited or reviewed by an independent Certified Public Accountant and prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
- The Division's examiners conduct periodic examinations of licensees’ books and records to assess the licensee's ability to operate in a financially safe and sound manner and its compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The examination fee is $60.00 per examiner per hour.
- Licensees must annually, on or before March 31st, file a report with the Division containing information regarding its business and operations during the preceding calendar year.
REFERENCES: MASSACHUSETTS STATUTES AND REGULATIONS
- Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255B and the Division's regulation 209 CMR 20.00 et seq. concerning Retail Installment Sales of Motor Vehicles.
- Massachusetts General Laws chapter 140D: Consumer Credit Cost Disclosure and the Division's implementing regulation 209 CMR 32.00 et seq. concerning Truth-in-Lending and credit advertising.