Under a new rule that went into effect October 1, some debt collection branch managers or owners in Florida could find themselves with dirty fingertips.

Due to an amendment in state law, specifically Fla. Stat. Ann. Section 559.555, Florida now requires fingerprints as a condition of obtaining or renewing a state consumer collection agency registration. New applicants will be required to submit fingerprints of “control persons” on the registration application form. Existing licensees will need to submit fingerprints for “control persons” prior to having their next renewal approved.

ACA International first reported the change. Their summary of the amendment’s requirements for collection agency initial registration or renewal:

  • Submit fingerprints for each of the applicant’s control persons in accordance with rules adopted by the commission.
  • The fingerprints may be submitted through a third-party vendor authorized by the Department of Law Enforcement to provide Live Scan fingerprinting.
  • A state criminal history background check must be conducted through the Department of Law Enforcement, and a national criminal history background check must be conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • All fingerprints submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement must be submitted electronically and entered into the statewide automated biometric identification.
  • The Office of Financial Regulation shall pay an annual fee to the Department of Law Enforcement to participate in the system and inform the Department of Law Enforcement of any person whose fingerprints are no longer required to be retained.
  • The costs of fingerprint processing, including the cost of retaining the fingerprints, shall be borne by the person subject to the background check.

Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation will be supervising the fingerprint program. According to a fact sheet from the office, applicants and renewals will need to visit the office of a pre-approved Live-Scan vendor to have the fingerprints taken. Fingerprints are then sent electronically to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a state criminal background check and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an FBI criminal background check.

Florida provides a list of Florida Approved Live Scan service providers and a link for service providers out of the state. Florida has stated that the website for out-of-state collection agencies will be fully activated by Nov. 1, 2014.

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