Article 3. Membership Fee And Assessments of California Financial Code >> Division 6. >> Chapter 2.5. >> Article 3.
Fidelity Corporation shall establish and maintain the
following funds for payment of claims and for payment of costs of
administration: the membership fund, the operations fund, and the
(a) An applicant or a licensee shall, at the time an application
is filed for a license, pay to Fidelity Corporation a membership fee
of three thousand dollars ($3,000) for each location for which a
license is applied. If the application is denied, withdrawn, or
abandoned, Fidelity Corporation may retain two hundred dollars ($200)
from the membership fee to cover costs of administration.
(1) The membership fund shall be reserved for payment of claims
which exceed the fidelity fund balance and for payment of
extraordinary operational costs.
(2) Any member who, on the effective date of this section, has an
account balance which exceeds the three thousand dollars ($3,000)
membership fee times the number of its licensed locations shall be
credited in a special reserve account for the excess amount. This
balance shall be credited against future assessments made pursuant to
subdivision (b) of Section 17321 in an amount not exceeding four
hundred dollars ($400) per licensed location per year. Any member
whose account balance is less than three thousand dollars ($3,000)
times the number of its licensed locations shall, on or before
December 1, 1988, pay to Fidelity Corporation an amount sufficient to
allow the member's account to be maintained at three thousand
dollars ($3,000) times the number of licensed locations. Fidelity
Corporation shall provide each member with an accounting of the
amounts being reserved for the members' membership account and
amounts being held as a special reserve.
(3) The membership fee, less any unpaid assessments and related
costs, shall be refunded to the member in accordance with Fidelity
Corporation's bylaws not less than 30 months and no more than 36
months after the effective date of surrender of a license.
(4) Any member who does not engage in any escrow transactions
pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 17312 may terminate its
membership in Fidelity Corporation by written notice to Fidelity
Corporation and the Department of Business Oversight, as provided in
the Fidelity Corporation's bylaws and rules and regulations. The
membership fee, less any unpaid assessments and related costs, shall
be refunded to the member in accordance with Fidelity Corporation's
bylaws not less than 30 months and no more than 36 months after the
effective date of the member's written request to terminate its
membership in Fidelity Corporation. Before a licensee resumes those
escrow transactions, it shall first be required to become a member of
Fidelity Corporation, as provided in this subdivision.
(b) Fidelity Corporation shall prepare, prior to its fiscal year
end, an estimated annual operational budget projecting the costs of
operations and administration for the succeeding fiscal year,
excluding the amount paid for claims and premiums paid for excess
coverage bonding. The amount of the assessment shall be 150 percent
of the budgetary projection. In succeeding years, the assessment
shall be adjusted by adding the prior year's deficit or deducting
unused surplus from the prior year.
(c) Fidelity Corporation shall establish a fidelity fund for the
payment of claims and for the payment of the premium for the fidelity
bond or insurance policy, if any. All claims shall be paid from the
fidelity fund, provided that, to the extent that the fidelity fund
balance is not sufficient to pay claims, the claim shall be paid from
the membership fund by charging each member's membership account a
pro rata share of the excess.
(d) All interest earned on the membership fund and the operations
fund shall be credited to the fidelity fund.
Fidelity Corporation shall bill and collect from each member
an annual premium that in the aggregate shall consist of assessments
for the operations fund and the fidelity fund.
(a) The annual assessment for the operations fund shall be
assessed no later than October 15 of each year for the current fiscal
year in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 17320. The
payment of any invoice for assessments under this subdivision is
payable by the member escrow agent in three equal and consecutive
monthly installments with the first installment payable at or within
30 days after receipt of the Fidelity Corporation invoice. The
assessment shall include:
(1) All costs and expenses of administration as budgeted by the
board of directors for the current fiscal year.
(2) Any expenses actually incurred in the preceding fiscal year
which exceeded the budgeted costs of expenses and administration
except for expenses recovered pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section
Each member's assessment shall be determined pro rata based upon
the ratio of each member's licensed locations to the total licensed
locations of all members as of the preceding June 30.
Members licensed on or after July 1 of each year shall be assessed
only for costs and expenses pursuant to paragraph (1) of this
subdivision. This assessment shall be prorated on a monthly basis.
(b) The annual assessment for the fidelity fund shall be assessed
no later than May 1. The assessment shall include any amount
necessary to replenish the membership fund pursuant to Section 17324,
and shall be based upon the balances of the membership fund and the
fidelity fund as of December 31 of the previous year and the escrow
liability schedule of each licensed location as provided in Section
17348, and shall be calculated as follows:
(1) If the membership fund and fidelity fund in the aggregate
equal an amount less than five million dollars ($5,000,000), or if
the balance in the fidelity fund is less than two million five
hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000), then the assessment shall be
the greater of: (A) the amount necessary to bring the membership fund
and fidelity fund in the aggregate up to five million dollars
($5,000,000), but not to exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000) per
assessment, or (B) the amount necessary to maintain a minimum
fidelity fund balance of two million five hundred thousand dollars
($2,500,000), including the amount of the assessment, or (C) four
hundred thousand dollars ($400,000).
(2) If the membership fund and fidelity fund in the aggregate
equal an amount that is at least five million dollars ($5,000,000),
and the balance in the fidelity fund is at least two million five
hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000), then the assessment shall be
four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000).
Each member's fidelity fund assessment for paragraphs (1) and (2)
shall be the amount derived by multiplying the amount to be assessed
by the ratio that each member's risk factors bear to the total of all
members' risk factors.
A member's risk factors shall be computed in accordance with the
following formula, except that the total factors of a member shall be
reduced by one for each licensed branch location:
Licensed Location Factors
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), the assessment for the
fidelity fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1989, shall be
made immediately upon 90-day notice of cancellation of the fidelity
bond or insurance policy permitted by paragraph (2) of subdivision
(c) of Section 17310, but in no event later than 60 days prior to the
date of cancellation.
(d) Every licensed member as of March 31 shall pay the fidelity
fund assessment, without any pro rata adjustment, notwithstanding
that the member may have surrendered a license or have a license
revoked prior to the date that the assessment is mailed.
Fidelity Corporation shall levy a special assessment
against its members whenever:
(a) Deemed necessary by the board of directors in the event of any
extraordinary expenses which would seriously deplete the resources
of the operations fund; or
(b) A proof of loss has been submitted by a member which, if paid
during that fiscal year, would reduce the membership fund by 10
percent or more.
Fidelity Corporation shall be entitled to collect late
fees as specified in Fidelity Corporation's bylaws for any late
payment of assessments under Section 17320, 17321, or 17321.1.
Fidelity Corporation shall report to the commissioner each
levy of assessment within 10 business days after the levy.
(a) In the event any member fails to pay an assessment when
due, Fidelity Corporation shall by written demand addressed to the
member request the payment of the assessment within 30 days of the
demand letter. If the member fails to pay an assessment, the
commissioner may issue an order pursuant to subdivision (b).
(b) If a member fails to pay the assessment, or any applicable
late fee, the commissioner may by order summarily suspend the license
issued to the company. If after the order is made, a request for a
hearing is filed in writing and a hearing is not held within 60 days
thereafter, the order is deemed rescinded as of its effective date.
During any period when its license is suspended, a company shall not
conduct business pursuant to this division, except as may be
permitted by order of the commissioner. However, the suspension of a
license shall not affect the powers of the commissioner as provided
in this division.
(c) Fidelity Corporation may bring an action at law or in equity
against the member to recover any assessment or fees.
(d) Fidelity Corporation may be awarded costs and reasonable
attorney's fees, if it prevails in any action against a member, or
against a third party, except the commissioner, to enforce a claim
against the bond or other security posted by the member pursuant to
Section 17202, or in any action against a member pursuant to
subdivision (c). Those costs and attorney's fees may be awarded as an
item of costs, as provided for in paragraph (10) of subdivision (a)
and paragraph (5) of subdivision (c) of Section 1033.5 of the Code of
Civil Procedure, provided that the payment of the costs and attorney'
s fees will not cause the member to be in violation of Section 17202,
17202.1, or 17210.
Any reduction in the membership fund caused by payment of an
extraordinary expense pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 17320
or payment of claims pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 17320
shall be replenished by the operations fund or the fidelity fund, as
appropriate. The next assessment for the operations fund or the
fidelity fund, as appropriate, shall include an amount necessary for