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S.B. No. 1620

AN ACT
relating to examinations by the consumer credit commissioner with
regard to the regulation of property tax lenders and certain other
lenders and debt management counselors.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 351.004, Finance Code, as added by
Chapter 1220 (H.B. 2138), Acts of the 80th Legislature, Regular
Session, 2007, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 351.004. AFFILIATED BUSINESS ARRANGEMENTS. A property
tax lender may conduct business under this chapter in an office,
office suite, room, or place of business in which any other business
is conducted or in combination with any other business unless the
commissioner:
(1) determines after a hearing that the conduct of the
other business in that office, office suite, room, or place of
business has concealed an evasion of this chapter; and
(2) orders the lender in writing to desist from the
conduct of the other business in that office, office suite, room, or
place of business [This chapter may not be construed to prevent
affiliated or controlled business arrangements or loan origination
services by or between a property tax lender and other
professionals].
SECTION 2. Subchapter A, Chapter 351, Finance Code, as
added by Chapter 1220 (H.B. 2138), Acts of the 80th Legislature,
Regular Session, 2007, is amended by adding Sections 351.008
through 351.011 to read as follows:
Sec. 351.008. EXAMINATION OF LENDERS; ACCESS TO RECORDS.
(a) The commissioner or the commissioner’s representative shall,
at the times the commissioner or the representative considers
necessary:
(1) examine each place of business of each property
tax lender; and
(2) investigate the lender’s transactions, including
loans, and records, including books, accounts, papers, and
correspondence, to the extent the transactions and records pertain
to the business regulated under this chapter and Sections 32.06 and
32.065, Tax Code.
(b) The property tax lender shall:
(1) give the commissioner or the commissioner’s
representative free access to the lender’s office, place of
business, files, safes, and vaults; and
(2) allow the commissioner or the representative to
make a copy of an item that may be investigated under Subsection
(a)(2).
(c) During an examination, the commissioner or the
commissioner’s representative may administer oaths and examine any
person under oath on any subject pertinent to a matter that the
commissioner or the representative is authorized or required to
consider, investigate, or secure information about under this
chapter or Section 32.06 or 32.065, Tax Code.
(d) Information obtained under this section is
confidential.
(e) A property tax lender’s violation of Subsection (b) is a
ground for the suspension or revocation of the lender’s license.
Sec. 351.009. GENERAL INVESTIGATION. (a) To discover a
violation of this chapter or Section 32.06 or 32.065, Tax Code, or
to obtain information required under this chapter or Section 32.06
or 32.065, Tax Code, the commissioner or the commissioner’s
representative may investigate the records, including books,
accounts, papers, and correspondence, of a person, including a
property tax lender, who the commissioner or the representative has
reasonable cause to believe is violating this chapter or Section
32.06 or 32.065, Tax Code, regardless of whether the person claims
to not be subject to this chapter or Section 32.06 or 32.065, Tax
Code.
(b) For the purposes of this section, a person who
advertises, solicits, or otherwise represents that the person is
willing to make a property tax loan is presumed to be engaged in the
business described by Section 351.051.
Sec. 351.010. REFUSAL TO ALLOW EXAMINATION OR INSPECTION.
A property tax lender who fails or refuses to permit an examination
or investigation authorized by this subchapter violates this
chapter. The failure or refusal is grounds for the suspension or
revocation of the lender’s license.
Sec. 351.011. VERIFICATION OF NET ASSETS. If the
commissioner questions the amount of a property tax lender’s net
assets, the commissioner may require certification by an
independent certified public accountant that:
(1) the accountant has reviewed the property tax
lender’s books, other records, and transactions during the
reporting year;
(2) the books and other records are maintained using
generally accepted accounting principles; and
(3) the property tax lender meets the net assets
requirement of Section 351.153.
SECTION 3. Subchapter E, Chapter 14, Finance Code, is
amended by adding Section 14.2015 to read as follows:
Sec. 14.2015. CONFIDENTIALITY OF CERTAIN INFORMATION.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), information or material
obtained or compiled by the commissioner in relation to an
examination by the commissioner or the commissioner’s
representative of a license holder or registrant under Subtitle B
or C, Title 4, or Chapter 394 is confidential and may not be
disclosed by the commissioner or an officer or employee of the
Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, including:
(1) information obtained from a license holder or
registrant under Subtitle B or C, Title 4, or Chapter 394;
(2) work performed by the commissioner or the
commissioner’s representative on information obtained from a
license holder or registrant for the purposes of an examination
conducted under Subtitle B or C, Title 4, or Chapter 394;
(3) a report on an examination of a license holder or
registrant conducted under Subtitle B or C, Title 4, or Chapter 394;
and
(4) any written communications between the license
holder or registrant, as applicable, and the commissioner or the
commissioner’s representative relating to or referencing an
examination conducted under Subtitle B or C, Title 4, or Chapter
394.
(b) The commissioner or the commissioner’s representative
may disclose the confidential information or material described by
Subsection (a):
(1) to a department, agency, or instrumentality of
this state or the United States if the commissioner considers
disclosure to be necessary or proper to the enforcement of the laws
of this state or the United States and in the best interest of the
public;
(2) if the license holder or registrant consents to
the release of the information or has published the information
contained in the release; or
(3) if the commissioner determines that release of the
information is required for an administrative hearing.
SECTION 4. Subsection (a-4), Section 32.06, Tax Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(a-4) The Finance Commission of Texas shall:
(1) prescribe the form and content of an appropriate
disclosure statement to be provided to a property owner before the
execution of a tax lien transfer; [and]
(2) adopt rules relating to the reasonableness of
closing costs, fees, and other charges permitted under this
section; and
(3) by rule prescribe the form and content of the sworn
document under Subsection (a-1) and the certified statement under
Subsection (b).
SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.

______________________________ ______________________________
President of the Senate                                        Speaker of the House

I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1620 passed the Senate on
April 23, 2009, by the following vote: Yeas 30, Nays 0; and that
the Senate concurred in House amendment on June 1, 2009, by the
following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.

______________________________
Secretary of the Senate

I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1620 passed the House, with
amendment, on May 26, 2009, by the following vote: Yeas 140,
Nays 0, one present not voting.

______________________________
Chief Clerk of the House

Approved:

______________________________
Date

______________________________
Governor

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