30-14-2004. Requirements for licensure -- fees -- rulemaking authority -- refusal to grant license -- suspension or revocation of license -- rules. (1) A credit counseling service may not provide or offer to provide debt management plans or other consumer credit counseling services to the consumers of this state without first being licensed by the department.
(2) In order to obtain a license or annually renew a license, an applicant shall pay the required license fee as established by the department by rule. The fee must be in an amount commensurate with the cost of administering this part, and the applicant shall provide evidence:
(a) that it maintains a trust account for handling consumer funds;
(b) (i) that it has been accredited by a bona fide third-party accreditation provider that ensures compliance with industry standards and best practices; and
(ii) that its credit counselors have been certified by a bona fide third-party certification provider as possessing the competence to provide consumer credit counseling services;
(c) that a majority of its owners, principals, officers, board of directors, or employees are not persons who have a conflict of interest with the applicant's mission. Persons with a conflict of interest include creditors, creditors' representatives, bankruptcy attorneys, and other persons having a direct stake in the outcome of the consumer credit counseling process.
(d) that it has obtained a surety bond for the benefit of consumers harmed by a violation of the provisions of this part in an amount, form, and duration as required by the department by rule, except that an applicant that does not maintain an office in this state with a credit counselor on the premises shall post a surety bond in the amount of $50,000; and
(e) that it has contracted at its own expense for annual audits by an independent certified public accountant to be conducted within 6 months of the close of each of its fiscal years.
(3) An applicant for a license or license renewal shall provide any additional information that the department requires. The department shall adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section. The department shall designate by rule acceptable third-party accreditation and certification providers for purposes of subsection (2)(b).
(4) The department may refuse to grant a license to or suspend or revoke the license of any credit counseling service that fails to comply with the provisions of subsections (1) through (3) or any rules adopted pursuant to this section.