53-208.8.  Surety bond.

(a)        Each application shall be accompanied by a surety bond acceptable to the Commissioner in the amount of one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000). If the applicant proposes to engage in business under this Article at more than one location, through authorized delegates or otherwise, then the amount of the security bond will be increased by five thousand dollars ($5,000) per location, up to a maximum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000). In the case of an applicant which engages in business under this Article, but has no locations or authorized delegates in this State, the amount of the security bond may be increased at the Commissioner's discretion to a maximum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000). The surety bond shall be in a form satisfactory to the Commissioner and shall run to the State for the benefit of any claimants against the licensee to secure the faithful performance of the obligations of the licensee with respect to the receipt, handling, transmission, and payment of money or monetary value in connection with the sale and issuance of payment instruments, stored value, or transmission of money. The aggregate liability of the surety in no event shall exceed the principal sum of the bond. Claimants against the licensee may themselves bring suit directly on the security bond, or the Commissioner may bring suit on behalf of claimants, either in one action or in successive actions.

(b)        In lieu of a surety bond, the licensee may deposit with the Commissioner, or with any bank in this State designated by the licensee and approved by the Commissioner, to an aggregate amount, based upon principal amount or market value, whichever is lower, of not less than the amount of the surety bond or portion thereof, the following:

(1)        Unencumbered cash.

(2)        Unencumbered interest-bearing bonds.

(3)        Unencumbered notes.

(4)        Unencumbered debentures.

(5)        Unencumbered obligations of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or guaranteed by the United States.

(6)        Unencumbered obligations of this State or of any political subdivision of the State, or guaranteed by this State.

The securities or cash shall be deposited as aforesaid and held to secure the same obligations as would the surety bond, but the depositor shall be entitled to receive all interest and dividends thereon, shall have the right, with the approval of the Commissioner, to substitute other securities for those deposited, and shall be required to do so on written order of the Commissioner made for good cause shown.

(c)        The surety bond shall remain in effect until cancellation, which may occur only after 90 days' written notice to the Commissioner. Cancellation shall not affect any liability incurred or accrued during that period.

(d)       The surety bond shall remain in place for no longer than five years after the licensee ceases money transmission operations in the State. However, notwithstanding this provision, the Commissioner may permit the surety bond to be reduced or eliminated prior to that time to the extent that the amount of the licensee's outstanding payment instruments, stored value obligations, and money transmitted in this State is reduced.

(e)        The surety bond proceeds and any cash or other collateral posted as security by a licensee shall be deemed by operation of law to be held in trust for the benefit of the purchasers and holders of the licensee's outstanding payment instruments, stored value obligations, and money transmissions in the event of the bankruptcy of the licensee. (2001-443, s. 2.)