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This opinion was issued in the third quarter of 1998.
A Company engaged in the international shipping business, through the large volume of its currency exchanges, has secured a favorable foreign currency exchange relationship with a federally-chartered Bank doing business in the Commonwealth. This Company intends to pass on the benefits of this favorable exchange rate to other U.S. companies, by accepting their U.S. funds, exchanging those monies with the Bank offering the discounted exchange rate into the desired foreign currency, and returning the converted funds to the companies, minus a transaction fee for its services.
In the Commonwealth, "persons who engage or are financially interested in the business of receiving deposits of money for the purpose of transmitting the same or equivalents thereof to foreign countries" must be licensed by the Division of Banks pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 169. In determining whether a corporation would require a foreign transmittal agency license, the Division considers: (1) whether deposits of money would be accepted for the purpose of transmittal to foreign countries; (2) whether the corporation has a physical or staffed presence in the Commonwealth; (3) whether monies will be transferred to and from accounts in the Commonwealth; and (4) which entities are party to the foreign transmittal transaction and where are said parties located.
It is the opinion of the Division that a Company such as the one described above would not require a foreign transmittal agency license because it will not be accepting deposits in the Commonwealth for the purpose of transmittal to foreign countries. Also, such companies engaging in the business of international shipping should examine the requirements of M.G.L. c. 169 §1 regarding the exemptions from foreign transmittal licensing for global transportation companies and express companies doing international express business. If a Company is transferring the exchanged money through written check, draft or technological means, a check-sellers license, with accompanying bond, may be required under Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 167F, section 4.