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On March 15, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services issued a bulletin “strongly” encouraging financial institutions to protect payments made to customers under the American Rescue Plan from overdrafts and fees. The bulletin further instructs that if a financial institution’s system automatically applies such a payment to a preexisting overdraft, the institution should reverse the application of the direct payment as promptly as possible.
Virginia issues modified stay at home order identifying banks and financial institution as essential retail businesses
On December 10, the governor of Virginia issued a modified stay at home order limiting travel and gatherings for Virginia residents and operations for certain businesses. However, banks and other financial institutions with retail functions are considered essential retail businesses and may continue to remain open during normal business hours. All businesses, including essential retail businesses, are advised to adhere to the Guidelines for All Business Sectors.
Rhode Island Division of Banking issues guidance on workplace practices to mitigate spread of Covid-19
On November 6, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, Division of Banking issued Banking Bulletin 2020-6 announcing certain standards for personnel and office operations that it encourages financial institutions to implement to mitigate further spread of Covid-19. These standards include, among others, guidelines for employee mask-wearing and congregation, and arrangement of office furniture to encourage social distancing.
On October 26, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions issued interim regulatory guidance to licensed mortgage loan originators and companies that sponsor them relating to temporary remote work. The guidance extends earlier interim guidance (previously covered here, here, and here) permitting mortgage loan originators to work from home, provided certain data security obligations are met. The guidance extends through March 31, 2021.
On October 2, the Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions extended interim guidance allowing Hawaii-located financial institutions to reduce hours or close offices during Hawaii’s Covid-19 state of emergency (see here and here for previous coverage). Similar to previously issued guidance, financial institutions and escrow depositories are required to provide notice of closures or reductions in hours. While mortgage loan originators, mortgage servicers and money transmitters are not required to provide notice, the regulator requests a courtesy notification of any closure or reduction in hours. The guidance is extended “in accordance with the county emergency orders found on each county website.”
On August 13, the Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions extended, until September 30, 2020, interim guidance permitting licensees with locations in Hawaii to reduce hours or close offices during Hawaii’s Covid-19 emergency period. Consistent with the previous guidance, covered here, financial institutions and escrow depositories are required to provide notice of closures or reductions in hours. While mortgage loan originators, mortgage servicers, and money transmitters are not required to provide notice, the regulator requests a courtesy notification of any closure or reduction in hours.
The West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions extended, through September 1, 2020, its guidance temporarily permitting employees of regulated entities to work from home or some other remote location approved by the financial institution, whether in West Virginia or another state. The initial guidelines were announced on March 13 (previously discussed here) and had been previously extended through June 15, as previously covered here.
Pursuant to Executive Order 202.11 (previously discussed here), the Department of State, Division of Licensing Services, announced that any license issued by the division that expires after March 27, 2020, will remain in effect until September 5, 2020. Further, the announcement notes that the Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council has advised that appraisers within New York have been granted a 90-day deferment for meeting continuing education requirements. A license holder that is eligible to renew and does not need the extension is encouraged to renew the license. Other license holders may rely on the above extensions.
On July 25, the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions issued an emergency declaration to notification filers. The declaration waives the $50 late fee for notification filer renewal applications postmarked after April 16, 2020, and grants notification filers an extension to submit the renewal application and renewal fee until August 31, 2020.
On July 24, the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, Securities Division, reissued an earlier announcement on its operations, which was previously covered here. The announcement provides that: (i) paper copies of registration documents and payment of related fees can be mailed to the LOFI, and certain filings can be submitted electronically; (ii) examinations are being conducted remotely using phone and email correspondence in lieu of traditional on-site examinations; (iii) licensing staff continue to process licensing and registration applications through the CRD/IARD systems; and (iv) enforcement staff are limiting in-person contacts with witnesses and regulatory partners, and are using telecommunications technology to complete tasks remotely.