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Budget Planner Licensing

Budget Planner Licensing


Information and Resources for Budget Planners

As stated in Section 455 of the General Business Law, "Budget planning means the making of the contract between a person or entity engaged in the business of budget planning with particular debtor whereby (i) the debtor agrees to pay a sum or sums of money in any manner of form and the person or entity engaged in the business of budget planning distributes, or supervises, coordinates or controls the distribution of, or has a contractual relationship with a another person or entity that distributes, or supervises, coordinates or controls such distribution of, the same among certain specified creditors in accordance with a plan agreed upon and (ii) the debtor agrees to pay such person or entity, or such other person or entity that distributes, or supervises, coordinates or controls such distribution of, a sum or sums of money, any valuable consideration for such services or for any other services rendered in connection therewith. For the purposes of this article, a person or entity shall be considered as engaged in the business of budget planning in New York, and subject to this article and the licensing and other requirements of article twelve-C of the banking law, if such person or entity solicits budget planning business within this state and, in connection with such solicitation, enters into a contract for budget planning with an individual then resident in the state."

For licensing requirements see Article 12-C of the Banking Law, sections 579 to 587, Superintendent's Regulations Parts 402, 404 and 300.

Application and License Management

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) allows Budget Planners to manage license applications and ongoing regulation via the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS).

Budget Planner Application Resources

DFS uses the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) to manage the Budget Planner Licensing process.

Each company holding a DFS Budget Planner License who wishes to manage their license on NMLS must create a company record in the system.

Current New York State Budget Planners may transition their licenses to NMLS. See the DFS Budget Planner Company Transition Checklist and Budget Planner Branch Transition Checklist on NMLS for more information.

Accessing NMLS

NMLS is a secure web-based system created by state regulators to provide efficiencies in the processing of state licenses and improve supervision of state-regulated industries. Through NMLS, companies can maintain a single record to apply for, amend, surrender and change license authorities in one or more states, and make reports conveniently and safely online.

To access NMLS for the first time, you must complete a Company Account Request Form and identify a Primary Account Administrator and a Secondary Account Administrator. This form can be submitted electronically through the NMLS website in the “Getting Started” section. This form needs to be submitted only once per company, regardless of the number of NMLS participating states in which you are licensed.

Within three days of completing and submitting the Company Account Request Form, the Primary Account Administrator will receive NMLS login information. The Primary Account Administrator will have full rights to access the system, submit information to this agency and other participating state regulators, and set up other company users in the system. Instructions and tutorials on how to access and use the system are also available in the NMLS Resource Center.

Note: If your company already has a record in NMLS, you can omit this step.

Submitting a Complete Application

To submit an application and ensure your application is received, acknowledged as complete, and processed, please follow the instructions on the NMLS Budget Planner Checklists. No application shall be deemed to be complete until the Department has received all required information, documents, and fees.

In the process of reviewing and considering the application, DFS may request additional information and supporting documents.

In the application process, an NMLS Identification Number will be assigned to your application. Please maintain a record of this NMLS Identification Number, as it will be used as your application reference number throughout the remainder of the application process. Your NMLS Identification Number must be included on every hard-copy document submitted to the Department.

Note: If you have already submitted Forms MU1 and MU2 through NMLS for another state, you do not not need to re-enter the company record into NMLS. However, you are required to provide jurisdiction-specific information to support your New York State application.


Annual Reporting

Common Forms

Examination and FILMES Evaluation

The examination focuses on compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations and areas deemed likely to affect the safety and soundness of the licensee.

The Department of Financial Services assigns licensed budget planners a FILMES rating based on an assessment of financial condition, internal controls and auditing, legal and regulatory compliance, management, education, and systems and technology.  The ratings range from “1” (Strong) to “5” (Unsatisfactory). 

Licensees with a FILMES rating of "4" (Marginal) or “5” (Unsatisfactory) or severe violations/ deficiencies may be subject to regulatory actions such as monetary fines, and license suspension and revocation.

Details on the evaluation of the FILMES components

Financial Condition: This evaluation considers balance sheet composition including the adequacy of the fund balance (net assets), the adequacy of the trust fund to pay creditors, liquidity, the quantity and quality of earnings including trends, the composition of revenues and expenses, and the prospects and plans for growth.

Internal Controls and Auditing: Internal controls and auditing are evaluated based upon the effectiveness of accounting, financial, operation, and systems controls, and the audit program.  The assessment considers the extent of adherence to established policies and procedures; the independence, frequency, scope, and adequacy of the internal and external audit functions (including risk assessment) relative to the size and business activities of the licensee; the severity of internal control and audit exceptions; the extent to which internal control and audit exceptions are tracked and resolved in a timely manner; the adequacy of management information reports; and whether the system of controls is reviewed to keep pace with changes in the licensee’s business plan.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance: This evaluation is based upon the level of adherence to applicable state and federal laws and regulations including any supervisory follow-up actions; the effectiveness of the written compliance program and training of personnel charged with maintaining compliance; the ability to submit regulatory reports in a timely and accurate manner; and management’s ability to identify and correct compliance issues in a timely manner.

Management: The rating is based upon, but not limited to the following:  the overall performance of the licensee; the capability of the governing board and management in carrying out the licensee’s mission; management depth and succession; and responsiveness to recommendations from auditors and supervisory authorities.

Education: The rating is based upon the quality of the licensee’s education program; the qualification of the individuals or organizations providing such services either directly or indirectly; the adequacy of the delivery systems used to provide such services; the methodology used to measure the effectiveness of the education being provided; and the level of recordkeeping associated with the individuals or organizations participating in educational programs.

Systems and Technology The evaluation is based upon assessments of the following four critical components: IT Audit – evaluates the quality of the entire IT auditing process (including risk assessment), internal and external in terms of management and the external auditor’s ability to effectively identify, monitor and test internal controls over information systems; Management – evaluates the extent to which management effectively monitors and controls the risks inherent in information systems, including, but not limited to, resources employed and disaster recovery/business continuity planning and testing; Development and Acquisitions – addresses the adequacy of the licensee’s systems development methodology and related risk management practices for the acquisition and development of IT; Support and Delivery – measures the licensee’s ability to provide reliable and secure quality information systems services effectively and efficiently in-house and through service providers.

Changes in Certain Individuals

Pursuant to the following sections of the New York Banking Law (BL) and Superintendent’s Regulations (SR), licensees of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) are required to notify the Superintendent of changes in certain individuals, within stipulated time frames:

  • Budget Planners:  BL 580, 581, 583 and 583-a; and SR 402.2, 402.4 and 402.8

Included Individuals

  • Members of the governing board such as directors, trustees, and LLC members
  • Officers (at a minimum Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, and Chief Operations Officer, and any other officers deemed necessary by DFS)

Document requirements for Each Included Individual Added

Document requirements for Each Included Individual Removed

Notification on the licensee's letterhead signed by an authorized officer containing the following:

  1. Name and title of the individual being removed
  2. Reason of the removal
  3. Effective date of the removal
  4. New title/position, if any

Where To Submit?

For matters related to Budget Planners, Check Cashers, Licensed Lenders, Money Transmitters, Premium Finance Agencies, and Sales Finance Companies should submit the documents as directed by the DFS Portfolio Manager assigned to your institution.

For matters related to Virtual Currency, please submit the documents via email to [email protected].

*These requirements are for changes in certain individuals of licensees whose licenses are not managed on NMLS. For those managed on NMLS, visit, navigate to Company Licenses and Amendment under the pertinent industry type, and look under Change in Control on the Amendment Checklist.

**Background Investigation Reports are usually required only for individuals of licensed check cashers and money transmitters, however, Background Investigation Reports may also be required for other officers, directors, stockholders, owners, and control persons of any licensee as determined by the Superintendent in her sole discretion.


More information about NMLS can be found in the NMLS Resource Center.

Please call DFS at (212) 709-5507 for application questions.