A mortgage lender’s license may be revoked for employing convicted felons.

Topic: Banking and Finance, Decided by: Judge Malihi 
Docket Number: 1427836 , Decision Date: June 26, 2014 
Attachment: Click here to download the decision. 

Department of Banking and Finance may revoke a license if it is determined that a mortgage lender, licensee, or any person who is an employee of the mortgage lender or licensee has been convicted of a felony in any jurisdiction or of a crime which, if committed within this state, would constitute a felony under the laws of this state.  However, the Department is not required to exercise its revocation authority.  See O.C.G.A. 7-1-1004(h) (“The department . . . may revoke a license . . . if it finds that the . . . mortgage lender . . . licensee, or any person who is [an] . . . employee . . . of the . . . mortgage lender . . . licensee . . . has been convicted of a felony . . .”) (emphasis added); Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 80-11-4-.08(2)(b) (“Hiring or continuing to employ a person with an unremedied felony conviction subjects a licensee to revocation of its license.”).  Indeed, the Department’s regulations prescribe alternative penalties for violations of the prohibition against employing convicted felons.  Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 80-11-3-.01(9) (“Any mortgage broker or mortgage lender licensee . . . who hires or retains an employee who is a felon as described in O.C.G.A. § 7-1-1004(h), which employee has not complied with the remedies provided for in O.C.GA. § 7-1-1004(h), may be fined five thousand dollars ($5,000) per employee found to be in violation of such provision and their license or registration will be subject to revocation or suspension.”).  The appropriateness of the proposed sanction will be determined after an evidentiary hearing.

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