§468M-10 Performance bond and irrevocable letter of credit as alternative to client trust account required of activity desks; coverage amount and computation; annual report and option; adjustments; coverage upon transfer. (a) If a client trust account is not established and maintained as required under section 468M-9, no activity desk shall be permitted to operate in the State unless the activity desk:
(1) Posts a bond which is a performance or financial guaranty type bond naming the director as the obligee and which may be canceled only if the activity desk gives sixty days prior written notice to the surety or if the surety gives thirty days prior written notice to the director of cancellation of the bond; or
(2) Obtains an irrevocable letter of credit which is a guarantee of payment for a term of one year naming the director as beneficiary, with a provision for automatic extension for additional annual periods, and which may be canceled only if the activity desk gives prior written notice by certified mail to the director and to the issuer at least ninety days before the letter's expiration date or the date on which the activity desk intends the letter to cease being effective or the issuer gives prior written notice by certified mail to the director at least sixty days before the expiration date.
(b) The bond or letter of credit shall be issued by a surety or federally insured lending institution authorized to do business in the State to indemnify any consumer who may suffer loss as a result of nonperformance by an activity desk.
(c) An activity desk shall not provide the required coverage through multiple bonds or irrevocable letters of credit but shall provide either a single bond or a single irrevocable letter of credit. An activity desk may substitute the bond with an irrevocable letter of credit. An activity desk may substitute the bond with an irrevocable letter of credit and vice versa pursuant to subsection (h), but shall not provide one in addition to the other to reach the required aggregate amount of coverage. If an activity desk has more than one branch desk location, the bond or irrevocable letter of credit shall cover all locations and computations on the coverage amount shall be based on the total net sales revenues of all branch locations.
(d) Upon cancellation or expiration of the bond or letter of credit, the surety or insurer shall remain liable for any claims against the bond or letter of credit for a period of six months; provided that:
[(1)] The debts were incurred while the bond or letter of credit was in effect; and
[(2)] The director notifies the surety or insurer, as the case may be, of any claims within ninety days of discovery of any claims.
(e) The surety or insurer is not required to release any moneys or collateral to the activity desk during the six months after cancellation of the bond or expiration of the letter of credit.
(f) The amount of coverage shall be equal to the average monthly net sales revenues of the activity desk as determined for the twelve-month period ending on the last sales period ending date of the fifth month prior to the anniversary date of the bond or the irrevocable letter of credit; provided that the amount of coverage of the bond or irrevocable letter of credit shall not be less than $50,000 and shall not be more than $250,000. Any activity desk providing a bond or irrevocable letter of credit for the first time during the period beginning on September 1, 1992, and ending on March 31, 1993, shall base its initial coverage amount on the twelve-month period ending on June 30, 1992. If an activity desk does not have a full twelve-month period on which to base the amount, the amount shall not be less than the average monthly net sales revenues as determined for the months available; provided that this amount shall not be less than $75,000, notwithstanding the minimum amount of $50,000 for regularly computed coverage.
(g) No later than four months before the anniversary date of coverage, each activity desk shall submit a notarized annual report to the department verifying the monthly net sales revenue figures for the twelve-month period upon which the amount of the bond or irrevocable letter of credit is based. However, each activity desk shall have the option not to submit the annual report if the activity desk provides a bond or an irrevocable letter of credit for the maximum amount of $250,000.
(h) Each activity desk shall review the desk's coverage at least once each year and shall increase or decrease the amount of the coverage as necessary according to the computation method in subsection (f) at the time coverage is renewed on the anniversary date or on other dates if coverage is reinstated or replaced; provided that any downward adjustment in coverage shall not result in coverage below $50,000.
A bond shall be accepted as replacement for another bond or an irrevocable letter of credit and an irrevocable letter of credit shall be accepted as replacement for another irrevocable letter of credit or a bond if:
(1) The effective date of a replacement bond is prior to or on the cancellation date of the bond being replaced;
(2) Where a letter of credit is about to expire, the effective date of the replacement bond is prior to or on the same date as the date of expiration of the irrevocable letter of credit and the replacement bond is received by the director before that expiration date;
(3) The replacement irrevocable letter of credit is received by the director at least fifteen days prior to the expiration date of the irrevocable letter of credit being replaced; or
(4) The replacement irrevocable letter of credit is received by the director on or before the cancellation date of the bond.
(i) An activity desk whose bond or letter of credit has been canceled or has expired may continue to operate the activity desk provided the desk establishes the client trust account at least two months prior to the cancellation or expiration of the bond or letter of credit, and shall not be allowed to replace the client trust account with a bond or letter of credit for at least one year.
(j) Failure to have in effect a client trust account, or current bond or letter of credit shall result in automatic forfeiture of the registration. An activity desk whose registration is forfeited shall apply as a new applicant for registration. [L 1992, c 231, pt of §2, §§3, 6; am L 1995, c 174, §§1, 2; am L 1998, c 248, §§1, 2; am L 2010, c 150, §4]