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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Oklahoma regulator amends working from home guidance

    State Issues

    On September 23, the Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit extended, for the third time, its interim guidance to regulated entities on working from home (see herehere, here and here for previous coverage). The guidance sets forth data security standards that regulated entities must meet in order to satisfy the department guidance. The guidance also provides that the department will expedite and waive fees for change of address applications in the event that a licensed location is compromised by Covid-19 or is undergoing decontamination. The guidance was extended through October 31, 2020.

    State Issues Covid-19 Oklahoma Consumer Credit Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Licensing

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  • Colorado amends executive order regarding eviction protections

    State Issues

    On September 22, the Colorado governor issued Executive Order 2020 202, which amends Executive Order 2020 101, as amended and extended by earlier orders. The amendment provides that an individual is prohibited from filing or initiating actions for forcible entry and detainer (i.e. eviction), including any demand for rent, unless the individual has notified the tenant in writing of the federal protections against eviction provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions To Prevent the Further Spread of Covid-19. The individual must provide as notice a copy of the CDC’s order. Certain aspects of Executive Order 2020 101, including the amendments pursuant to Executive 2020 202, will expire 30 days from September 2020. Other aspects of Executive Order 2020 101 will remain in full force and effect as originally promulgated. Previous coverage relating to Colorado’s eviction orders can be found here, here, and here.

    State Issues Covid-19 Colorado Mortgages Evictions

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  • Virginia governor announces expansion of grant program for small businesses, nonprofits

    State Issues

    On September 21, the Virginia governor announced the expansion of the Rebuild VA, the $70 million economic recovery fund for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by Covid-19. As a result of the expanded eligibility requirements, businesses that received funding from the federal CARES Act and supply chain partners of businesses whose normal operations were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive grants of up to $10,000. The Rebuild VA funding may be used for, among other things, payroll support, employee salaries, and mortgage payments, rent, and utilities. The announcement provides additional information regarding eligibility for the grants.

    State Issues Covid-19 Virginia Small Business CARES Act Mortgages

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  • New York governor extends moratorium on commercial evictions

    State Issues

    On September 21, the New York governor issued Executive Order 202.64, which extends the moratorium on Covid-19-related commercial evictions until October 20. The eviction moratorium, which was first issued on March 20, has been extended several times. For our previous coverage, see here.

    State Issues Covid-19 New York Mortgages

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  • California Department of Real Estate issues FAQs regarding licensing process

    State Issues

    On September 21, the California Department of Real Estate issued FAQs on licensing processes during Covid-19. The FAQs respond to questions regarding, among other things, how to determine whether an exam has been cancelled and how to reschedule the exam, the best way to complete a renewal of an expiring real estate license, completing continuing education requirements, and whether the DRE will accept electronic signatures on licensing documents.

    State Issues Covid-19 California Licensing Examination Real Estate Mortgage Licensing

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  • NYDFS enforces its debt collection regulation for the first time

    State Issues

    On September 16, NYDFS filed a statement of charges against a debt collector for allegedly failing to honor consumers’ requests for substantiation of debt. This is the first enforcement action alleging violations of New York’s Debt Collection Regulation, 23 NYCRR Part 1, which was promulgated in 2015. New York law dictates that substantiation must be provided within 60 days after receiving a request, and specifies what documentation must be provided to substantiate the debt. Charges filed against the company allege that requests made by consumers for information proving the validity of the debt and the company’s right to collect the debt were not honored in several ways, such as failing to provide (i) any substantiation to dozens of consumers; (ii) sufficient substantiation to hundreds of consumers, for example, by omitting a complete chain of title or underlying transaction documents; and (iii) substantiation within the required timeframes. NYDFS maintains that the company’s actions violate 23 NYCRR Part 1, Section 1.4, and that such violation carries civil penalties of up to $1,000 per offense under state law. Additionally, NYDFS claims that “each failure to provide any substantiation, timely substantiation, or sufficient substantiation of debt constitutes an independent offense.” A hearing is scheduled for January 12, 2021 before a hearing officer to be appointed by the Superintendent of Financial Services.

    State Issues NYDFS Debt Collection Enforcement

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  • CSBS announces single exam for money transmitters

    State Issues

    On September 15, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced the launch of a single, streamlined examination for money transmitters operating nationwide (i.e., in 40 or more states), known as “MSB Networked Supervision.” The single exam—which will apply to “78 of the nation’s largest payments and cryptocurrency companies”—will be led by one state overseeing a group of examiners sourced from around the country. MSB Networked Supervision is a result of recommendations from the CSBS Fintech Industry Advisory Panel and CSBS Vision 2020 (covered by InfoBytes here).

    State Issues Money Service / Money Transmitters State Regulator Examination Supervision Vision 2020 Licensing CSBS Fintech

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  • New York AG settles with student loan debt collector for $600k

    State Issues

    On September 11, the New York attorney general announced one of the nation’s largest debt collectors will pay $600,000 in restitution to student loan borrowers and will make significant changes to its debt collection practices in order to resolve allegations that it made false, misleading, and deceptive statements in lawsuits and in communications with borrowers. According to the AG, the debt collector, among other things, (i) filed complaints that falsely identified trusts, which hold the defaulted loans, as the borrower’s “original creditor,” when in fact, the trusts are the assignees of the original financial institutions that originated the loans; (ii) filed various misleading sworn affidavits; (iii) filed complaints that represented borrowers applied for loans from a “servicing agent” when, in fact, borrowers never dealt with the entity; (iv) filed lawsuits beyond the applicable three-year statute of limitations; and (v) threatened legal action against borrowers even though the trusts “could not or would not sue because the statute of limitations for suing on the debt had expired.”

    The assurance of discontinuance requires the debt collector to stop identifying the trusts as the original creditor and to cease using misleading language in communications with borrowers. In addition, the debt collector must (i) provide enhanced staff training; (ii) stop filing lawsuits beyond the statute of limitations, and voluntarily dismiss all wrongfully-filed lawsuits; (iii) voluntarily release “all pending garnishments, levies, liens, restraining notices, attachments, or any other judgment enforcement mechanism” obtained as a result of judgments obtained in wrongfully-filed lawsuits where the statute of limitations has expired; (v) take steps to vacate any judgment obtained in any of these wrongfully-filed lawsuits; and (vi) pay restitution to certain borrowers or to the state to be disbursed as appropriate.

    State Issues NYDFS Debt Collection Student Lending State Attorney General State Regulator

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  • CDBO releases proposed commercial financing disclosure regulations

    State Issues

    On September 11, the California Department of Business Oversight (CDBO) initiated the formal rulemaking process with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for the proposed regulations implementing the requirements of the commercial financing disclosures required by SB 1235 (Chapter 1011, Statutes of 2018). In September 2018, California enacted SB 1235, which requires non-bank lenders and other finance companies to provide written consumer-style disclosures for certain commercial transactions, including small business loans and merchant cash advances (covered by InfoBytes here). In July 2019, California released the first draft of the proposed regulations (covered by InfoBytes here) to consider comments prior to initiating the formal rulemaking process with the OAL.

    The new proposed regulations, which have been modified since the July 2019 draft, provide general format and content requirements for each disclosure, as well as specific requirements for each type of covered transaction. Additionally, the proposed regulations provide information on calculating the annual percentage rate (APR), including additional details for calculating the APR for factoring transactions, as well as calculating the estimated APR for sales-based financing transactions, among other things. Additional details about the proposed regulations can be found in the CDBO’s initial statement of reasons. Comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted through October 28.

    State Issues Small Business Lending Fintech Disclosures APR Commercial Finance Nonbank CDBO

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  • Nevada Dept. of Business and Industry extends work from home guidance

    State Issues

    On August 21, the Nevada  Department of Business of Industry, Division of Mortgage Lending extended its provisional guidance allowing licensed mortgage loan originators to work from home (previously covered here and here) until December 31, 2020.

    State Issues Covid-19 Nevada Licensing Mortgage Origination Mortgages

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