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On July 6, the CFPB announced the launch of Consumer Financial Protection Week from July 14 through July 17. Over the course of four days, the Bureau is hosting or participating in multiple virtual events, including (i) a tutorial and overview of the HMDA data browser; (ii) a discussion on the Bureau’s supervisory and enforcement prioritized assessment approach; and (iii) a discussion on the Bureau’s Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law.
On July 7, the mayor of D.C. signed D.C. Act 23-0332, which amends the Coronavirus Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, previously covered here, and certain other laws to, among other things, add provisions relating to emergency credit alerts. Under the amendments, a user of a credit report may not consider adverse information in a consumer report that was the result of an action or inaction by the consumer that occurred during, and was the direct or indirect result of, a public health emergency declared by the mayor, if the credit report includes an emergency credit alert.
On July 7, the CFPB issued its semiannual report to Congress covering the Bureau’s work from October 1, 2019, through March 31, 2020. The report, which is required by the Dodd-Frank Act, addresses, among other things, problems faced by consumers with regard to consumer financial products or services; significant rules and orders adopted by the Bureau; and various supervisory and enforcement actions taken by the Bureau. In her opening letter, Director Kathy Kraninger discusses the Bureau’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that the Bureau has participated in “countless joint statements, virtual co-appearances, and shared broadcasts to stakeholders with [their] prudential partners” and has “directly engage[d] consumers with the right information, at the right time.”
Among other things, the report highlights first time homebuyers and credit scores as areas in which consumers face significant problems, citing to the Bureau’s Market Snapshot on First-time Homebuyers and the quarterly consumer credit trends report on public records. In addition to highlighting the Bureau’s previous efforts during the reporting period, the report notes upcoming initiatives and plans, including (i) the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law’s public listening sessions in the fall; (ii) the cost-benefit analysis symposium in July; and (iii) further work on their Covid-19 pandemic responses.
On June 19, the Maryland Department of Labor’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued the Covid-19 Health Crisis: Financial Relief Guide for Marylanders. Among other things, the guide contains information and resources regarding relief programs for consumers relating to economic impact payments, mortgage payments and foreclosure, rental evictions, student loans, automobile and personal loans, collections and garnishment, credit reporting, and insurance coverage and payments.
Washington Department of Financial Institutions amends guidance for state regulated and exempt residential mortgage loan servicers
On June 19, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions issued amended guidance that replaces guidance issued in March to Washington State regulated and exempt residential mortgage loan servicers regarding support for consumers impacted by Covid-19. The amended guidance urges mortgage servicers to continue to assist consumers adversely impacted by Covid-19. The department further urges services to take “reasonable and prudent actions through September 30, 2020, subject to the requirements of any related guarantees or insurance policies” to support mortgagors by: (1) forbearing mortgage payments; (2) refraining from certain credit reporting; (3) offering additional time to complete trial loan modifications; (4) ensuring that late payments do not adversely affect a consumer’s ability to obtain permanent loan modifications; (5) waiving certain fees; (6) postponing foreclosures; (7) ensuring mortgagors do not experience service disruptions as a result of office closures; and (8) proactively reaching out to mortgagors to explain the assistance being offered.
On June 17, the New York State Department of Financial Services issued guidance to state-regulated financial institutions, urging them to support consumers that have been negatively impacted by Covid-19. The department urged furnishers of credit information to, among other things, report accommodations reached under the CARES Act as “current,” unless the credit was delinquent prior to the accommodation; report certain Covid-19 related delinquencies as forborne, deferred, or affected by a natural or declared disaster consistent with the furnisher’s treatment of the account; and promptly conduct reasonable investigations of consumer-disputed credit information.
On June 12, the Texas Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner issued updated guidance for regulated lenders navigating the Covid-19 crisis. The guidance: (1) addresses the June 1 due date for filing annual reports; (2) encourages lenders to work with consumers, including by working out modifications to assist with payments, waiving fees and charges, suspending charged-off accounts, and suspending repossessions of collateral or foreclosure of real property, among other things; (3) reminds lenders of legal requirements for using electronic signatures; and (4) permits lenders to conduct regulated lending activity from unlicensed locations, subject to certain conditions. The guidance is in effect through July 31, 2020, unless withdrawn or revised
Texas Office of Consumer Credit updates guidance urging motor vehicle sales finance licensees to work with borrowers
On June 12, the Texas Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner issued an updated advisory bulletin urging motor vehicle sales finance licenses to work with consumers during the Covid-19 crisis (previously covered here and here). Among other measures, the regulator urged licensees to increase consumer communication, work out modifications, waive certain charges, and suspend repossessions. The guidance is in effect through July 31, 2020, unless withdrawn or revised
On June 8, the CFPB published a blog post written by Todd Zywicki, the Chair of the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law, which discusses the future plans of the taskforce. In addition to the March request for information (RFI) seeking input on consumer protection areas for the taskforce to focus its research and analysis on (covered by InfoBytes here), the post notes that the taskforce intends to gain feedback from other public forums as well in order to produce a two-volume report. The first volume, among other things, will contain a history of consumer financial protection laws, a cost-benefit analysis of financial products and services, and an outline of the current regulatory framework. The second volume will include a set of recommendations for the Bureau “on ways to improve and strengthen the application of financial laws and regulations.” Through the fall, the taskforce will (i) analyze the comments received from the RFI; (ii) hold a public hearing; and (iii) participate in public listening sessions with the Bureau’s four advisory committees.
On June 5, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued an order prohibiting writs of garnishment or writs of execution as they pertain to consumer debt collection cases. The order does not affect writs of garnishment and writs of execution issued prior to June 8, 2020. Other rules pertaining to consumer debt collection cases are also unaffected. The order does not apply to domestic support obligations, including support and spousal maintenance obligation. The order will remain in effect until amended or withdrawn by a future order.
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Fair servicing in wake of Covid-19" at an American Bar Association webinar
- APPROVED Webcast: Maximizing vendor value
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "Cram for the exam: Best prep strategies for a regulatory examination" at an ACAMS webinar
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss "The United States in the age of Covid-19: The financial stimulus and the battle against fraud and corruption" at the Argentine Association of Ethics and Compliance Compliance Officers’ Club
- Melissa Klimkiewicz to discuss "Flood insurance basics" at the NAFCU Virtual Regulatory Compliance School
- Sasha Leonhardt to discuss "Privacy laws clarified" at the National Settlement Services Summit (NS3)
- Amanda R. Lawrence to discuss "New privacy legislation: Preparing for a major source of class action and enforcement activity going forward" at the American Conference Institute Consumer Finance Class Actions, Litigation & Government Enforcement Actions