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On April 3, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions issued emergency guidance for annual meetings of members and shareholders as a result of Covid-19 emergency measures. The guidance provides that all annual meetings may be conducted virtually, provided the meeting adheres to standard record-keeping obligations.
On April 1, Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued an order instituting a moratorium on residential evictions for individuals out of work or otherwise unable to pay rent as a direct result of Covid-19 provided certain conditions are met. The temporary order went into effect immediately and is effective through May 15. Herbert’s announcement did not institute rent forgiveness during the leniency period.
On March 31, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed an executive order closing non-essential businesses and public venues. McMaster’s order gave the South Carolina Department of Commerce the ability to review and designate essential businesses in the state, and where necessary, consult with the state attorney general for further clarification. The order followed a declared state of emergency announced by McMaster on March 13.
The Montana Department of Administration has posted information about technology-based notarizations available to Montana notaries. The guidance describes the mechanics of remote and remote online notarization, the registration requirements for performing technology-based notarization, and the methods of identification for remote and remote online notarizations. A list of Montana Secretary of State approved providers of remote and remote online notarization is included.
The Montana Banking and Financial Institutions announced that it is extending the deadline for non-depository licensees to file certain reports. The MCR Q1 2020 report due date has been extended from May 15, 2020, to June 14, 2020. The deadline to submit the MCR Standard Financial Condition Report and the Financial Statement has been extended from 90 days from the end of the company’s fiscal year to 120 days from the end of company’s fiscal year.
On March 31, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit partially affirmed a district court’s dismissal of federal and state law claims against a loan servicer, concluding that while a 1099-A form sent to the plaintiff was not an attempt to collect a debt under the FDCPA, the district court erred in determining that the claim was time-barred. The plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of the FDCPA, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the Florida Mortgage Brokerage and Lending Laws (MBBL). After the district court dismissed her initial and amended complaints, the plaintiff appealed, arguing, among other things, that the district court erred when it (i) determined that the defendant’s mailing of IRS form 1099-A was not an attempt to collect a debt under the FDCPA; (ii) dismissed her FDCPA claim as time-barred because the statute of limitations had expired; (iii) found that the defendant was not involved in the original loan transaction and therefore could not be liable for damages under the MBLL; and (iv) declined “to exercise supplemental jurisdiction” over the other state law claims after dismissing the FDCPA claims with prejudice.
On appeal, the 11th Circuit agreed that the form 1099-A “was not a communication in connection with debt collection” because it did “not demand payment, state that it was an attempt to collect a debt, or state to whom or how to make a payment of the debt.” The appellate court also agreed that the district court properly dismissed the plaintiff’s MBLL claim because she failed to plead that the defendant made her mortgage loan as required under the MBLL. The district court’s decision to dismiss the remainder of the state-law claims was also affirmed. However, the 11th Circuit disagreed with whether the plaintiff’s FDCPA claim was time-barred, concluding that while the one-year statute of limitations under the FDCPA begins to run on the date the communication is mailed, the appellate court has “never held that, when the date of mailing is in dispute and a plaintiff alleges receipt of a letter on a certain date, a court could presume a mailing date based on the date of receipt and the parties’ addresses.” (Emphasis in the original.) According to the 11th Circuit, “the district court erred in dismissing [the plaintiff’s] FDCPA claims as untimely when her complaint did not allege a date of mailing of the February mortgage statement, and it was not apparent from the face of her complaint whether her claim was time-barred.”
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions announced remote notarization as a result of Covid-19 emergency measures. DFI has currently approved five remote notarization providers: Notarize.com, NotaryCam, Pavaso, DocVerify, and Nexsys. Additional approvals will be forthcoming.
The State of Texas Joint Financial Regulatory Agencies issued guidance pertaining to HELOCs as part of the state’s broader Covid-19 emergency measures pursuant to the governor’s declaration of a state of disaster for Texas on March 13. The agencies’ statement anticipates that lenders may adjust or extend terms on HELOCs and offer new loans during the crisis period, but also clarified that all such modifications and newly-issued loans must comply with Article XVI, Section 50 of the Texas Constitution. The guidance confirmed that modifications that lower the interest rate or amount of installment payments, but that do not satisfy or replace the original note, advance new funds, or increase obligations created by the original note, would not be a new extension of credit under Section 50(a)(6) of the constitution. The State of Texas Joint Financial Regulatory Agencies is comprised of the Texas Department of Banking, Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending, Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, and Texas Credit Union Department.
Montana Department of Administration provides relief to banks and credit unions regarding annual meetings
On April 2, the Montana Department of Administration adopted a temporary emergency rule regarding annual meetings held by banks and credit unions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The rule permits a bank or credit union to hold its annual meeting in the form of a virtual meeting during the Covid-19 pandemic. Such virtual meeting must be live, allow electronic or telephonic participation in the meeting in real-time, and provide simultaneous audio transmission of the meeting.
The Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions issued guidance indicating that it will temporarily permit licensees with locations in Hawaii to reduce hours or close offices during Hawaii’s Covid-19 Emergency Period. The guidance clarifies that financial institutions and escrow depositories are required to provide notice of closures or reductions in hours to the Division and to customers as soon as practicable. While mortgage loan originators, mortgage servicers, and money transmitters are not required to provide notice, the Division requests a courtesy notification of any closure or reduction in hours, and mortgage loan originator branch managers must post signage at the branch office.
- Buckley Webcast: Where we are now: Exploring potential risks and rewards for lenders under CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program
- Benjamin W. Hutten to discuss "Understanding OFAC sanctions" at a NAFCU webinar
- Garylene D. Javier to discuss "Navigating workplace culture in 2020" at the DC Bar Conference