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On September 1, the New York Department of Financial Services issued industry guidance instructing regulated mortgage lenders and servicers not to charge (or pass through to) consumers for mortgage default registration fees. The press release announcing the guidance notes that certain counties, cities, and municipalities in New York require mortgagees to pay a fee to register mortgages declared to be in default. Noting that consumers are facing financial hardship arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the DFS guidance provides that these fees may not be passed on to consumers. Moreover, lenders and servicers who have charged consumers such fees must provide refunds, and must create a log of all borrowers who were charged such fees.
On June 11, the New York Superintendent of Financial Services issued an order extending the deadline for servicers to meet certain obligations under the updated Servicing Mortgage Loans: Business Conduct Rules (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 3, § 419 et seq.). Specifically, for servicers unable to provide a periodic statement that is compliant with the revised regulations, the order extends the compliance date for a period of 60 days from June 15 to August 14 (extension period). Servicers that cannot comply by June 15 must provide a notice on their website advising consumers that they will be entitled to receive the periodic statement on or shortly after August 14. However, the order notes that servicers that are able to comply with the periodic statement requirements by June 15 should do so as required. The order does not relieve servicers from any obligation to issue a periodic statement under TILA or from ensuring that borrowers receive an accurate accounting of their mortgage loan during the extension eriod.
On April 23, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance extended the deadline for license and registration applications under New Jersey’s Mortgage Servicers Licensing Act to June 12, 2020. Persons required to seek licensure under the act include entities that are in the business of servicing residential mortgage loans, and which are not already licensed as residential mortgage lenders and entities licensed as residential mortgage lenders or correspondent residential mortgage lenders conducting business in New Jersey.
On April 23, Freddie Mac announced that it will no longer produce paper bills for seller/servicers with respect to performing loans and non-performing loans, starting with May 2020 invoices. Beginning May 2020, customers can access Fannie Mae’s electronic billing platform (eBill) to view the information previously provided via paper bills.
On April 3, Freddie Mac issued guidance reminding seller/servicers to maintain a business continuity plan in accordance with the requirements of the Freddie Mac Single Family Seller/Servicer Guide. Sellers and servicers are expected to maintain the business continuity plan and to follow the plan during the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidance noted that Freddie Mac communicated with document custodians at four banks to confirm their business continuity plans are in place, and urged sellers using other document custodians to inquire with those custodians about their business continuity plans. Finally, the guidance summarized the relief that servicers should provide to borrowers impacted by Covid-19, including mortgage forbearance, waiving penalties and fees, halting foreclosure sales and evictions, suspending credit bureau reporting for delinquency related to forbearance, and offering loan modifications after the forbearance period.
On March 15, the Washington governor signed Senate Bill 6029, which establishes the “Washington student education loan bill of rights” and outlines licensing requirements and responsibilities for student loan servicers. The act, among other things, requires that the council designate a “student loan advocate” whose responsibilities include providing timely assistance to borrowers, reviewing borrower complaints, referring servicing-related complaints to the state’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) or the Attorney General’s office, compiling and disseminating data regarding borrower complaints, and establishing a student education loan borrower education course by October 1, 2020. The act also requires that student loan servicers be licensed through the state (certain entities that are exempt from the licensing requirement must still comply with the act’s other requirements). Under the act, student loan servicers—in addition to complying with applicable federal program requirements—must also (i) provide information to borrowers concerning repayment options, account history, and assessed fees; (ii) notify borrowers when acquiring or transferring servicing rights; and (iii) provide disclosures concerning the possible effects of refinancing student loans. The act further provides that third-parties offering student education loan modification services may not charge or receive money “prior to full and complete performance of the [agreed upon] services,” may not charge fees that are in excess of what is customary or reasonable, and must immediately inform a borrower in writing if the owner or servicer of a loan requires additional documentation or if “modification, refinancing, consolidation, or change in repayment plans . . . is not possible.”
Furthermore, the act exempts from the outlined requirements “any person doing business under, and as permitted by, any law of this state or of the United States relating to banks, savings banks, trust companies, savings and loan or building and loan associations, or credit unions.”
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- 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
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "Making customers whole: Trends in remediation and restitution expectations" at the American Bar Association Business Law Virtual Section Meeting
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Fairness gone viral: Fair lending considerations for financial institutions amid Covid-19" at the American Bar Association Business Law Virtual Section Meeting
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "High standards: Best practices for banking marijuana-related businesses" at the ACAMS AML & Anti-Financial Crime Conference
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- Matthew P. Previn and Walter E. Zalenski to discuss "Is valid when made ... valid?" at the Women in Housing & Finance Partner Series webinar
- Warren W. Traiger and Caroline K. Eisner to discuss "CRA modernization" at CBA Live
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss "Transnational corruption: A chat with former U.S. federal prosecutors in New York" at Marval Live Talks
- Sherry-Maria Safchuk and Lauren Frank to discuss "New CFPB interpretation on UDAAP" at a California Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Quality and Compliance Committee webinar
- Thomas A. Sporkin to discuss "Managing internal investigations and advanced government defense" at the Securities Enforcement Forum
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss "Independent monitoring in the United States" at the World Compliance Association Peru Chapter IV International Conference on Compliance and the Fight Against Corruption
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- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss "Major litigation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Kathryn L. Ryan to discuss "Pandemic fallout – Navigating practical operational challenges" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Consumer financial services" at the Practising Law Institute Banking Law Institute