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How Do I Get A California Finance Lenders License?


The California Department of Business Oversight, Financial Services Division is tasked with the oversight of licensure and regulations of finance lenders, payday lenders, escrow agents and escrow companies, mortgage servicers, mortgage and other non-bank lenders and other financial service providers.

A finance lender is defined as anyone that makes consumer or commercial loans. A finance broker is defined as a person that negotiates or performs an act in connection with loans made by a finance lender.

Section 22100 of the California Financial Code defines the license requirements which includes a minimum net worth of at least $25,000 and requires a minimum surety bond of $25,000. None of the principals of the company can have a criminal history and must have a history of regulatory compliance.

License requirements are:

1. Complete the application through the NMLS system and pay the applicable filing fee.
2. Submit the checklist
along with agency-specific requirement attachments to the Department of Business Oversight NMLS Licensing Unit within 5 business days.
3. Provide copies of the following if applicable: a Certificate of Filing from the county clerk in which the fictitious business name was filed, if any questions answered “Yes” on the disclosure statement, provide supporting documents, Certificate of Authority or Good Standing Certificate obtained from the California Secretary of State, partnership agreement, and an organizational chart if owned by another entity, entities, or persons, subsidiaries, or affiliated entities.
4. Provide an unaudited financial statement within 90 days of the date of application. The financial statement must reflect a minimum real net worth of $250,000, unless licensed as a broker, then the requirement is $50,000.
5. Provide a Business Plan as to how business will be conducted.
6. Provide a Management Chart that includes offices, managers, and divisions.
7. Submit fingerprint cards for each control person filing an NMLS individual form.
8. Complete the Attestation by an authorized person for the company.
9. Complete the Customer Authorization of Disclosure of Financial Records form. If executed in a state other than California, the form must be notarized.
10. Complete the Execution Section by an authorized person for the company.
11. California Finance Lender Licensees who originate mortgage loans are also required to keep a minimum $25,000 surety bond. The bond amount is based on the amount of activities conducted by the licensee. The surety bond amounts will be based on the aggregate dollar amount of residential mortgage loans originated by the licensee in the preceding calendar year, as follows:

Aggregate Loans Bond Amount
0 - $1,000,000 $ 25,000
$1,000,001 - $50,000,000 $ 50,000
$50,000,001 - $500,000,000 $100,000
Over $500,000,001 $200,000

Surety bonding requirements for CFLL licensees who do not originate residential mortgage loans will remain $25,000.

Premiums for California finance lender bond are dependent on credit and the bond amount required.

Did you know?

That finance lenders in California can write either secured or unsecured loans. Secured loans can be secured with personal property and if the loan is more than $5,000 it can be secured with a combination of personal and real property or by real property alone.

Related Links:

California Finance Lenders License - FAQs
NMLS Registration Portal California Request for Live Scan Service
California Finance Lenders Law License - New Application Checklist
State of California - Finance Lenders Law - Plan of Business
State of California -Instructions for Customer Authorization for Disclosure of Financial Records Form
California Finance Lenders Law - Licensee Information

Have Questions?

Contact our Surety Bond Specialists at:

Phone: 1‑844‑432‑6637
Fax:     404-351-3237
Hours: 8:00-5:00 CST, Monday through Friday