Glossary of Terms and Acronyms



AARMR - American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators - a non-profit association of state regulators of mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers. This organization, in conjunction with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), owns and manages the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS).

Agent - a person acting or doing business for another.

AIRES - Automated Integrated Regulatory Examination Software.

APA - Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 120, Florida Statutes

APR - Annual Percentage Rate - total finance charges including interest, loan fees, points and other charges, expressed as a percentage of the total amount of the loan.

ARM - Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Associated person - individual employed or conducting business on behalf of a dealer or investment adviser, often called a stockbroker or registered representative of the firm.

Association - savings and loan or thrift association (also referred to as a Savings and Loan or S&L) that accepts deposits mainly from individuals and invests heavily in residential mortgage loans. Although still primarily residential lenders, S&Ls may now offer checking-type deposits and make a wider range of loans. Deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

ATM - automated teller machine - computer-controlled terminal located on the premises of a financial institution or elsewhere, at which customers may make deposits, withdrawals, or other transactions.


Branch office - any location identified to the public or customers as a location at which investment banking or securities business is conducted.

Broker (Securities) - a person who executes orders to buy or sell shares, acts as agent on behalf of a client's account (called trading). However, a broker may sometimes represent the firm's proprietary account.

BSA/AML - Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering - federal statutes that require all financial institutions and securities dealers to keep certain records, report large and/or suspicious transactions to the federal government, and implement an effective comprehensive risk based written program which seeks to identify and mitigate the risks of money laundering within the financial institution.


CAMEL - rating system where credit union supervisory authorities rate institutions according to five factors. The five factors are represented by the acronym "CAMEL." The five factors examined are: C - Capital adequacy; A - Asset quality; M - Management quality; E - Earnings; and L - Liquidity. Credit union supervisory authorities assign each credit union a score on a scale of one (best) to five (worst) for each factor.

CAMELS - rating system where bank supervisory authorities rate institutions according to six factors. The six factors are represented by the acronym "CAMELS." The six factors examined are as follows: C - Capital adequacy; A - Asset quality; M - Management quality; E - Earnings; L - Liquidity; and S - Sensitivity to Market Risk. Bank supervisory authorities assign each bank a score on a scale of one (best) to five (worst) for each factor.

CAPCO - Certified Capital Companies - as defined in Chapter 288, Florida Statutes, a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company certified by the Office which makes "qualified investments" as its primary activity in "qualified businesses." The primary purpose of CAPCOs is to encourage venture capital investments within the State of Florida.

Cease & Desist (C&D) - formal enforcement order issued after notice and opportunity for hearing, requiring a person to terminate unlawful practices.

CFE - Certified Fraud Examiner - designation given by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners which denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence.

CFP- Certified Financial Planner - professional designation evidencing completion of a set of courses covering such topics as taxes, insurance, investing and estate planning. CFP certification is attained by completing a two-year course offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Check casher - a person who receives compensation for exchanging currency for payment instruments.

CMO - Collateralized Mortgage Obligation - mortgage-backed, investment-grade bond that separates mortgage pools into different maturity classes, backed by mortgage-backed securities with a fixed maturity.

Commercial bank - type of financial institution that offers a broad range of deposit accounts, including checking, savings, and time deposits, and extends loans to individuals and businesses. Commercial banks can be contrasted with investment banking firms, such as brokerage firms, which generally are involved in arranging for the sale of corporate or municipal securities. Deposits are insured by the FDIC.

Consumer collection agency - company that collects or attempts to collect consumer debts, which are owed or due to another person. They may also collect third party commercial debts as long as less than one-half of the collection revenue is from the collection of commercial claims.

Commercial collection agency - company that collects or solicits collections on commercial claims owed or due to another person.

Consumer finance company - company that loans to consumers in an amount less than $25,000 with maximum interest rates between 18% and 30% per annum.

CRD - Central Registration Depository - computerized database that provides information on securities dealers, sales representatives, and supervisory personnel. This national database is compiled from application forms, exchange-developed tests, reported enforcement actions, and related information. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) owns the CRD system and its facilities, operating them on behalf of state and federal regulators and other users.

Credit Union - financial cooperative organization of individuals with a common field of membership such as a place of employment, residence, or membership in a labor union. Credit unions accept deposits from members, pay interest (in the form of dividends) on the deposits out of earnings, and use their funds mainly to provide consumer installment loans to members. Deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).

CSBS - Conference of State Bank Supervisors - national organization of state banking regulators. This organization, in conjunction with the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR), owns and manages the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS).

CSO - Credit Service Organization - company that provides credit repair services to consumers. The CSO purports to act, by way of a written agency agreement, as a broker/agent in order to secure an extension of credit for a borrower.

CTR - Currency Transaction Report - report filed by all financial institutions and securities dealers when currency greater than $10,000 is paid or received by a financial institution.


De novo - Latin phrase meaning "new". It is used to refer to a new financial institution.

DEA - Drug Enforcement Agency within the US Department of Justice

Dealer - an individual or firm in the securities industry who buys and sells stocks and bonds as a principal rather than as an agent. The dealer's profit or loss is the difference between the price paid and the price received for the same security.

DFI - Division of Financial Institutions within the Office of Financial Regulation.

DPP - Deferred Presentment Provider - an entity that engages in deferred presentment transactions (commonly referred to as payday loans) and is registered under Part II or Part III of the Money Transmitter Code and has filed a declaration of intent with the Office.


Equity Indexed Annuity - type of annuity that generally grows at the greater of: 1) an annual, guaranteed minimum rate of return; or 2) the return from a specified stock market index (such as the S&P 500), reduced by certain expenses and formulas. At the time the contract is opened, a term is chosen, which is the number of years that the principal is guaranteed.


FAMP - Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals - state association of professional mortgage brokers and lending firms.

FAW - Florida Administrative Weekly - is published on the Internet free of charge by the Florida Department of State as just one of its programs to increase public access to Florida government. It contains the following: rules and regulations affecting Florida citizens, notices of proposed rules, public meetings, bid proposals and other items.

FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation - the primary investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), serving as both a federal criminal investigative body and a domestic intelligence agency.

FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - independent deposit insurance agency created by Congress in 1933 to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's banking system.

FDLE - Florida Department of Law Enforcement - was created to "promote public safety and strengthen domestic security" by providing services in partnership with local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies to prevent, investigate, and solve crimes while protecting Florida's citizens and visitors.

Financial holding company - financial entity engaged in a broad range of banking-related activities including: insurance underwriting, securities dealing and underwriting, financial and investment advisory services, merchant banking, issuing or selling securitized interests in bank-eligible assets, and generally engaging in any non-banking activity authorized by the Bank Holding Company Act. The Federal Reserve Board is responsible for supervising the financial condition and activities of financial holding companies.

Financial planner - an individual that reviews all aspects of a person's financial life, and then formulates and implements a comprehensive plan based on a customer's investment goals. They may coordinate all financial aspects, such as estate planning, tax planning, insurance needs, debt management, college and retirement. Generally, financial planners get paid in one of two ways: fees or commissions. Fee-based planners charge by the hour or a percentage of assets, while others sell financial services or products and collect a commission.

FinCEN - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within the US Department of Treasury. This organization is the primary federal regulator with oversight of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) in order to enhance US national security, deter and detect criminal activity and safeguard financial systems from abuse by promoting transparency in the US and international financial systems.

FINRA- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - a Self Regulatory Organization (SRO) of broker/dealers. All securities firms, stockbrokers, and registered representatives doing business with the American public must register with FINRA.

Foreign currency exchanger - person who exchanges currency for currency of another government for compensation.

FRB (Federal Reserve Bank) - one of the 12 operating arms of the Federal Reserve System, located throughout the nation, that together with their 25 branches carry out various system functions, including operating a nationwide payments system, distributing the nation's currency and coin, supervising and regulating member banks and bank holding companies, and serving as banker for the US Treasury.

FSAIF - Florida Seniors Against Investment Fraud - made possible in part from a grant by the Investment Protection Trust. This is a statewide outreach program, developed by Seniors vs. Crime and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation created to help Florida's seniors avoid becoming the victims of financial fraud. The program's primary goals are to educate Florida seniors over the age of 50 about investment fraud and to help Florida seniors avoid being victimized.


GAA - General Appropriations Act


Home Improvement Seller - company that finances home improvements which are secured by a mortgage or lien on real property. This license is required for a contractor who repairs, remodels or adds improvements to a single-family residence pursuant to a written agreement when a mortgage lien on the property is retained as security. A home improvement contractor may also need a Retail Installment Seller license for contracts on which there is no mortgage taken as security for the loan.


IARD - Investment Adviser Registration Depository - computerized database which provides information on investment adviser firms, investment adviser representatives, and supervisory personnel. This national database is owned by the FINRA and its facilities are operated on behalf of state and federal regulators and other users.

ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement - the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency was created after 9/11, by combining the law enforcement arms of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the former US Customs Service, to more effectively enforce immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks.

Institutional lender - financial institution that invests in mortgages typically carried in its own portfolio, such as a savings association, commercial bank, life insurance company, pension and trust funds.

Interest - the cost to use borrowed money which is usually expressed in an annual percentage rate.

Investment advisers - individuals who give advice about securities including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and annuities. They may use a variety of titles including investment manager, investment counsel, asset manager, wealth manager, and portfolio manager. They provide ongoing management of investments based on the client's objectives, typically with the client giving discretionary authority to make decisions without having to get prior approval for each transaction. Generally, an investment adviser's compensation is considered to be a "fee".

IPT - Investor Protection Trust - a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. Its primary mission is to provide independent, objective information needed by consumers to make informed investment decisions and serves as an independent source of non-commercial investor education materials.

ITCRO - International Trust Company Representative Office - an office of an international trust entity which is established or maintained in this state for the purpose of engaging in nonfiduciary activities described in section 663.409, F.S., or any affiliate, subsidiary, or other person that engages in such activities on behalf of such international trust entity from an office located in this state.


L&C - Licensing and Chartering section of the Division of Financial Institutions

LBR - Legislative Budget Request

Loan modification - a permanent change in one or more of the mortgagor's loan terms

Loan originator - required for an individual who, directly or indirectly, solicits or offers to solicit a mortgage loan, accepts or offers to accept an application for a mortgage loan, negotiates or offers to negotiate the terms or conditions of a new or existing mortgage loan on behalf of a borrower or lender, processes a mortgage loan application, or negotiates or offers to negotiate the sale of an existing mortgage loan to a noninstitutional investor for compensation or gain. The term includes the activities of a loan originator as defined by the federal S.A.F.E. Act.

Loan servicing - the collection for an investor of periodic payments of principal, interest, taxes and insurance in accordance with the terms of a note or mortgage.


MSB - money services business - any person located or doing business in the State who acts as a payment instrument seller, foreign currency exchanger, check casher or money transmitter.

MTRA - Money Transmitter Regulators Association - a national organization of state regulators with supervisory oversight of money transmission entities. Membership includes 42 state regulators, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Mortgage broker - an entity conducting loan originator activities through one or more licensed loan originators employed by the mortgage broker or as independent contractors to the mortgage broker.

Mortgage lender - an entity making a mortgage loan for compensation or gain, directly or indirectly, or selling or offering to sell a mortgage loan to a noninstitutional investor.

Mortgage lender servicer - an endorsement is required for any mortgage lender licensee who services a mortgage loan.

Money transmitter - a person who sends funds, either by wire, facsimile, electronic transfer, courier or other means.

Motor vehicle retail installment seller - a company that finances motor vehicles by installment contracts for items such as automobiles, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, mobile homes and recreational vehicles.


NACCA - National Association of Consumer Credit Administrators - an organization of state regulators of consumer finance lenders.

NASAA - North American Securities Administrators Association - a voluntary association whose membership includes securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico.

NASCUS - National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors - a national organization of state credit union regulators.

NCUA - National Credit Union Administration - an independent federal agency that supervises and insures both federal and state-chartered credit unions. NCUA is entirely funded by credit unions and receives no tax dollars.

NCUSIF - National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund - established by Congress in 1970 to insure member share accounts at federally insured credit unions. NCUSIF is managed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) under the direction of the three-person NCUA Board. Share insurance is similar to the deposit insurance protection offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

NMLS - Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System - a system developed by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR) which is intended to: provide uniform license applications and reporting requirements for state licensed loan originators; provide a comprehensive licensing and supervisory database; improve the flow of information to and between regulators; provide increased accountability and tracking of loan originators; enhance consumer protection; and support anti-fraud measures.

NOI - Notice of Intent (to approve or deny) an application before the Office of Financial Regulation.

NW3C - National White Collar Crime Center - a congressionally-funded, non-profit corporation whose membership comprises law enforcement agencies, state regulatory bodies with criminal investigative authority and state and local prosecutions offices. Their mission is to provide a nationwide support system for agencies involved in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of economic and high-tech crimes and to support and partner with other entities in addressing economic crimes and homeland security issues.


OCC - Office of the Comptroller of the Currency - an independent bureau of the Treasury Department that oversees the nation's federally chartered banks.

OFAC - Office of Foreign Assets Control, US Department of Treasury - an agency of the United States Department of Treasury that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign states, organizations, and individuals.

OFR - Office of Financial Regulation - is dedicated to safeguarding the private financial interests of the public by licensing, chartering, examining and regulating depository and non-depository financial institutions and financial service companies in the State of Florida. The Office protects consumers from financial fraud, while preserving the integrity of Florida’s markets and financial service industries.

OTS - Office of Thrift Supervision - a bureau of the Treasury Department that has the authority to charter federal thrift institutions and serves as the primary regulator of approximately 2,000 federal and state chartered thrifts.


Payment instrument seller - corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or foreign entity qualified to do business in this state that sells or issues checks, drafts, warrants, money orders, traveler's checks, electronic instruments, other instruments, payment of money of monetary value whether or not negotiable.

Payday lenders - common name for companies registered as Deferred Presentment Providers under Part IV of Chapter 560, Florida Statutes.


QLSA - Qualified Limited Service Affiliate - a person or entity that is qualified under this part to perform the permissible activities outlined in section 663.531, F.S., related to or for the benefit of an affiliated international trust entity.


REAL System - Regulatory Enforcement and Licensing System - new system designed and developed to replace the Activity Tracking System (ATS), Departmental Licensing System (DLS), various Access databases, and Excel spreadsheets previous used by the Office to perform its regulatory duties. The REAL System also encompasses the REAL Portal (website) where applicants can file initial applications online and licensees can file renewals, amendments and compliance filings. The Portal allows for payment of filing fees by credit card (Visa and MasterCard) and electronic check (ACH).

Retail installment seller - company that offers installment financing to its customers, for goods or services other than motor vehicle and home improvement businesses. They may finance the goods or services sold on installment contract or revolving charge accounts to a retail buyer when the goods or services are primarily for personal, family or household use.

ROCA - rating system that focuses on Risk management, Operational controls, Compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations, and Asset quality. The ROCA rating system provides a framework for assessing the condition of an international bank office, both alone and within the context of the consolidated foreign banking organization, and pinpoints key areas of concern.


SAFE Act - Title V of the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act is the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008. It requires all states to have a system of licensure in place that meets national definitions and minimum standards for mortgage loan originators.

Sales finance company - company that purchases retail installment contracts from entities licensed in Florida such as motor vehicle installment sellers, retail installment sellers or home improvement finance sellers.

SAR - Suspicious Activity Report - a report filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by financial institutions, dealers, and money transmitters concerning activities that are known or are suspected to be violations of the law.

Savings bank - depository institution historically engaged primarily in accepting consumer savings deposits and in originating and investing in securities and residential mortgage loans; now may offer checking-type deposits and make a wider range of loans. Deposits are insured by the FDIC.

SEC - Securities and Exchange Commission - federal agency created by the US Congress to monitor the securities industry and enforce punishments against those that violate the industry's regulations.

Securities - financial instruments typically referred to as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments. Generally, stocks are equity in a company represented by owning shares called "equities", bonds are an I.O.U. or promissory note of a corporation or municipality, and mutual funds are pools of money gathered from investors used to buy individual stocks.

SRO - Self Regulatory Organization - national securities exchange, registered securities association or registered clearing agency authorized by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to regulate the conduct and activities of its members, subject to oversight by a specified government regulatory agency.


Title loan company - company that makes cash loans which are often called car title pawns, car title loans or motor vehicle equity lines of credit, and are a form of high cost, high risk loan for consumers with few traditional credit options. The title companies advance payment for a fraction of the vehicle's value and the funds must be repaid at the end of 30 days. Frequently these loans are made without consideration of the borrower's ability to repay the loan.


Variable annuities - product that combines features of insurance and securities investments that are typically a long-term investment vehicle. Variable annuities are deemed to be securities under Florida law.