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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

New York attorney general: CARES Act payments are exempt from setoff, garnishment

State Issues Covid-19 New York State Attorney General Bank Compliance Consumer Finance Debt Collection UDAAP

State Issues

On April 21, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued guidance clarifying that New York law exempts emergency stimulus payments made under the CARES Act from garnishment. Additionally, although New York law may, in certain circumstances, permit a bank to seize funds in a consumer’s account to pay a debt owed to the bank, the Office of the Attorney General views such a setoff against a CARES Act payment as unfair and abusive. James warned that the Office of the Attorney General would aggressively pursue any creditor or debt collector that garnishes or exercises a right of setoff against a CARES Act payment in violation of New York law.

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