More about your Corporate Governance Book….

Man, this is a mess out there. As part of our Compliance Program we started reviewing the condition of corporate records. We never realized how many people have no idea WHAT should be in their corporate records.  We do think everybody knows WHY you need to do this (shields you from personal liability)  but we have been reviewing different Secretary of State Filings and the typical mortgage broker is all over the place. No one passed with flying colors.

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So let’s make a list. Because this is important.

If you are a Corporation, either a C corp (for profit and pays its own taxes ) or an S corp (pass-through to you where you pay the taxes on your return):

  • Articles of INCORPORATION
  • By-Laws
  • Annual Reports to your Secretary of State
  • Annual Meeting Minutes – the report to your Shareholders
  • Anything in-between where the Corporation took action that should be properly recorded and approved in your Book.
  • This is the same list whether one shareholder or 1000 shareholders.

If you are a Limited Liability Company it is a bit different.

  • Articles of ORGANIZATION
  • Operating Agreement
  • Annual Reports to your Secretary of State
  • Member’s Minutes from meetings with your members
  • And, anything in-between where the LLC took action that should be properly recorded and approved in your Book
  • If you are a “single member LLC” the rules are a little looser but those of you who know me, know I think that more is better. Have meetings with yourself. Keep records with yourself. You get the picture.

Hope this helps. If you are unsure of your “condition”, email me at nl@lockelaw.us

Thanks.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services

(800) 656-4584

 

Don’t get excited, not gonna happen.

By a vote of 30-26 earlier this week, the House Financial Services Committee approved the “The Financial CHOICE Act of 2016” (H.R. 5983), the bill released in July 2016 by Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling to replace the Dodd-Frank Act.  All Democrats on the Committee voted against the bill as did one Republican member.  No amendments were offered by Democratic members.

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The sections of the bill dealing with the CFPB are found in Title III, entitled “Empowering Americans to Achieve Financial Independence.”  Subtitles A and B entitled, respectively, “Separation of Powers and Liberty Enhancements” and “Administrative Enhancements,” contain provisions that would change the CFPB’s structure, funding, and operation. For example, such provisions would change the CFPB’s name to the “Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission,” replace the current single director with a bipartisan, five-member commission, fund the commission through the appropriations process, require the commission to verify consumer complaint information before making it publicly available, and require the commission to establish a procedure for issuing written advisory opinions.

Subtitle C, entitled “Policy Enhancements,” contains provisions directed at the CFPB’s regulatory authority.  For example, such provisions would repeal the CFPB’s authority to prohibit consumer financial services or products it deems “abusive” and to prohibit the use of arbitration agreements, repeal the CFPB’s indirect auto lending guidance and require use of the notice and comment process for any new proposed guidance, and authorize the commission to grant a 5-year waiver from a payday lending rule to any state or federally-recognized Indian tribe that requests such a waiver.

While the bill is not expected to be passed by Congress this year, depending on the outcome of the Presidential election, it could serve as a roadmap for future legislative change.

Thank you, CFPB. Nice job writing this press release. Written without bias, I am sure.

Give us a call to learn more about how we can serve you with an outstanding and affordable Compliance Program. (800) 656-4584

Compliance Services Web Site

Corporate and LLC Formalities

For the past two years, when I sign up a new client company for our services, I always inquire about the state of your corporate minutes book, or your member meeting book for an LLC. In an astonishing 30-40% of the cases, most clients don’t keep a current book and some have no idea why I am asking.

scalesOfJusticeHere is why I am asking.

Business entities must follow certain legal formalities in order to remain in effect. Courts, while not eager to invalidate a corporation status or an LLC, will do so when it becomes apparent to them that the entity is nothing more than an alter-ego for the organizer. That means, a sort of “shell” that keeps no records, takes no actions, and is only in existence as an extra layer of personal liability protection.

Most good attorneys will look at corporate status right away, if they represent a client who is suing an entity. Piercing the corporate veil (that s what this practice is commonly called) creates great fear in the mind of the defendant and moves them to settlement faster than they might have otherwise had their entity been robust in its creation and its maintenance.

Here is how to how to create and keep a robust liability shield in place.

A corporation’s Articles of Incorporation is a formal legal document that contains important information about the corporation, such as the corporate name, address of the main office, and—in some states—the names of the directors and the name and address of one person who will be a contact for the public. In some states these incorporation articles are known as a “Charter” or “Certificate of Incorporation.”

Your corporation’s bylaws are an internal document that outlines how the corporation will govern itself and manage its day-to-day activities. In your bylaws, you can address the frequency of board of directors’ meetings, the number and name of corporate officers (i.e. President, Secretary, etc.), personnel policies, etc. Though not usually submitted to the state, bylaws are important in proving the legitimacy of the corporation.

The board of directors typically make important decisions at the initial board of directors meeting. Some of the decisions and actions that usually take place at the initial board of directors meeting include: Selection of officers, Adoption of bylaws, Stock authorization and issuance, and Adoption of the official stock form and seal.

The board of directors is the decision-making body of a corporation. Directors make the financial decisions and determine major corporate policies and procedures. They’re the ones who choose the officers, approve the issuance of stock, and set the salaries. The owner(s) of the corporation can appoint themselves or other people to the board of directors. Most states require at least one director on the board no matter how many owners there are.

After completing all the necessary steps to structure your business as a corporate entity, you’ll comply with the other requirements of running a business in your state and locality. You’ll need to obtain a business license and an employment identification number (EIN), which is your federal tax number, before doing any business. You will also need an EIN to open a business bank account. There may also be other permits or licenses that may be required could include a seller’s permit or a zoning permit depending on your type of business. Check the federal, state, and local requirements to find out what your business will need. I suggest including copies of your NMLS Licenses in your corporate records.

Corporate Minutes: Keeping corporate minutes doesn’t mean recording every meeting, but rather recording meetings that involve key decisions or key company activities. Here are examples. Annual director and shareholder meetings, Employee hires and compensation plan changes, new company bank accounts, loans, company credit cards, etc. The CFPB wants to see evidence that the entity required and approved a formal compliance program. The minutes can be simple – keep the language straightforward and professional. And it is best to use the same type of format each time you convene a meeting.

AT A MINIMUM, THIS IS WHAT SHOULD PRESENTLY BE IN YOUR CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK. LLC Member Minutes are similar.

  1. Articles of Incorporation
  2. By-Laws
  3. Organizational meeting minutes where Officers and Directors were elected
  4. Copies of Annual Meeting reports with your state.
  5. Copies of your Annual Shareholder Meetings where you ratify in reverse the prior actions of your Board.
  6. Copies of any Special Minutes necessary for those “special situations” that occur. Such as approving a formal Compliance Program.

If you follow these guidelines your corporation or LLC should survive any challenge, and you will usually not be subjected to personal liability as if you had no corporate veil.

We provide this service as part of our program. Call us at (800) 656-4584 if you want us to assemble your records for you.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services

(800) 656-4584

www.expertlenderservices.com

www.lockelaw.us

 

 

 

If in doubt, get a license.

Mortgage Industry Compliance Consulting

I am being barraged by questions regarding commercial lending and the need or not to be licensed. The area is not as grey as you may think. The problem is many commercial lenders disguise what would otherwise be a RESPA loan on a 1-4 family – by using LLCs. These lenders and brokers are completely ignoring the legal doctrine of beneficial ownership. And many times these lenders and brokers actually believe that no auditor or regulator has ever seen this scheme before. Really?

Auditor Auditee 022015I believe that the best business practice for any person originating any kind of mortgage residential or commercial – is to obtain the proper license first.

RESPA is applicable to all “federally related mortgage loans,” except as provided under 1024.5(b). “Federally related mortgage loans” are defined as:  1.A loan secured with a first or subordinate lien on residential property  2.Where a one to four family unit…

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