2017 ORS 696.511¹
License requirement
  • licensing system
  • rules

(1) A person may not directly or indirectly engage in or carry on, or purport to engage in or carry on, within this state, the business of an escrow agent, or act in the capacity of an escrow agent, unless the person holds an active license as an escrow agent under the provisions of ORS 696.505 (Definitions for ORS 696.505 to 696.590) to 696.590 (Penalty amounts).

(2)(a) The Real Estate Commissioner shall establish by rule a system for licensing escrow agents. The system shall establish, at a minimum, the following:

(A) The form and content of applications for initial licensing and license renewal.

(B) The requirements for submitting surety bonds under ORS 696.525 (Bond for escrow agents) or evidence of deposits in lieu of a bond under ORS 696.527 (Deposits in lieu of bond).

(C) The form and content of applications for changes in any of the following:

(i) Ownership interest in an escrow agent.

(ii) Corporate officers in charge of escrow operations for an escrow agent.

(iii) Other individuals in charge of escrow operations for an escrow agent.

(D) Schedules and procedures for issuing and renewing licenses.

(E) Schedules and procedures for approving changes in ownership interest in an escrow agent, changes in corporate officers in charge of escrow operations or changes in other individuals in charge of escrow operations.

(F) The term of a license.

(G) The requirements for an escrow agent to notify the Real Estate Agency of changes in the information contained in an application, including but not limited to office location changes, branch office establishment, office closure and business operations cessation.

(H) The requirements for an applicant that is not an individual to provide a certificate of existence or similar documentation.

(b) If an applicant for a license as an escrow agent is an individual, the applicant must be 18 years of age or older.

(3) For the initial license of an escrow agent, the commissioner may require information and evidence the commissioner considers necessary to demonstrate the applicant’s qualifications to transact escrow business including, but not limited to, information regarding the applicant’s financial resources, the applicant’s escrow business in another state or the experience or training of employees in escrow business, or a testimonial of an escrow agent licensed in this state. Subject to subsection (4) of this section, an applicant:

(a) Who is an individual must demonstrate a minimum of three years of experience in the administration of escrows within Oregon or a state with comparable escrow laws; or

(b) Who is not an individual must demonstrate a minimum collective experience among its personnel of three years in the administration of escrows within Oregon or a state with comparable escrow laws.

(4) The commissioner may waive the three-year experience requirement in subsection (3) of this section for an applicant who demonstrates other qualifications sufficient to ensure the protection of the public.

(5)(a) For the purpose of this subsection, an escrow agent that is not an individual may satisfy the requirements for fingerprints and a criminal records check by providing the fingerprints of and conducting a criminal records check on an individual who:

(A) Has more than five percent ownership interest in the escrow agent;

(B) Is a corporate officer in charge of escrow operations for the escrow agent; or

(C) Is in charge of escrow operations for the escrow agent.

(b) For an initial escrow agent license, the commissioner shall require fingerprints and a state or nationwide criminal records check under ORS 181A.195 (Criminal records check) of the applicant. The commissioner may require additional information from the applicant that the commissioner considers necessary for protecting the public.

(c) For license renewal as an escrow agent, the commissioner may require fingerprints and a state or nationwide criminal records check under ORS 181A.195 (Criminal records check) of the applicant. The commissioner may require additional information from the applicant that the commissioner considers necessary for protecting the public.

(d) For a change in individuals who will have ownership interest in an escrow agent, the individuals who will be corporate officers in charge of escrow operations or any other individuals who will be in charge of escrow operations, the commissioner shall require fingerprints and a state or nationwide criminal records check under ORS 181A.195 (Criminal records check) of the individuals who will have the ownership interest or who will be in charge. The commissioner may require additional information from the individuals that the commissioner considers necessary for protecting the public.

(6) For license renewal, an applicant that is an escrow agent shall provide:

(a) A certification of training, by which the applicant certifies that the applicant provides escrow agency staff within Oregon with an average of six hours or more of training per year per permanent, full-time employee in subjects that bear directly on the administration of escrows;

(b) A statement identifying by name, address and telephone number one or more individuals who can respond to the inquiries of or referrals by the commissioner or the commissioner’s authorized representative regarding the applicant’s escrow business; and

(c) Other documents and information that the commissioner may require by rule.

(7) The commissioner shall issue or renew an escrow agent license, approve a change in ownership interest in an escrow agent, approve a change in corporate officers in charge of escrow operations of the escrow agent or approve a change in any other individuals in charge of escrow operations of the escrow agent for an applicant that complies with the requirements of ORS 696.505 (Definitions for ORS 696.505 to 696.590) to 696.590 (Penalty amounts) and the rules adopted under ORS 696.505 (Definitions for ORS 696.505 to 696.590) to 696.590 (Penalty amounts).

(8) To qualify for issuance or renewal of an escrow agent license, an applicant shall pay any outstanding civil penalties or other moneys due and owing to the Real Estate Agency except civil penalties or other moneys due that are the subject of judicial or administrative review on the date of the application for license or license renewal. [1963 c.440 §§4,17; 1975 c.746 §29; 1977 c.351 §5; 1981 c.617 §21; 1991 c.874 §2; 2001 c.300 §36; 2003 c.427 §5; 2005 c.730 §§38,86; 2007 c.319 §15; 2009 c.174 §2]

Notes of Decisions

Person “Acts In Capacity of Escrow Agent” When, Pursuant to Written Instruc­tions From Principals and for Money or Other Considera­tion, Person

1) receives matters of value to which per­son has no right, title or interest; 2) holds matters received as neutral third party until occurrence of event or condi­tion specified by principals; and 3) upon occurrence of event or condi­tion, delivers matters to other per­son having right, title or interest. Coast Security Mortgage Corp. v. Real Estate Agency, 331 Or 348, 15 P3d 29 (2000)

Chapter 696

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Sales of subdivision lots by mobile home salespeople, (1975) Vol 37, p 865; sales or offers of interests in limited partnerships to invest in real estate, (1978) Vol 38, p 1971

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 696—Real Estate and Escrow Activities, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors696.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 696, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano696.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.