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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • New York announces New York Forward Loan Fund for small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords

    State Issues

    New York has announced the creation of the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), a new state-based loan program to support small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords (buildings with 50 units or less) in New York as they reopen from Covid-19-related shutdowns. The NYFLF is intended to provide working capital for upfront expenses related to complying with operational guidelines, such as inventory, marketing, and refitting for new social distancing guidelines. The loans will be available to individuals who did not receive a loan from either the U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program or the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Covid-19 in 2020. The NYFLF loans are interest bearing, are not forgivable, and must be repaid over a five-year term. Pre-applications for the program are being accepted.

    State Issues Covid-19 New York Small Business SBA

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  • Idaho Department of Finance extends work from home guidance for its licensees and registrants

    State Issues

    On May 22, the Idaho Department of Finance extended temporary work from home guidance previously issued to Idaho mortgage brokers and lenders, mortgage loan originators, regulated lenders, title lenders, payday lenders, and collection agency licensees and registrants. The original guidance, previously covered here, permits employees to work from home where the residence is not a licensed branch. The guidance is extended through September 1, 2020.

    State Issues Covid-19 Idaho Licensing Mortgage Broker Broker-Dealer Mortgage Lenders Loan Origination Mortgage Origination Title Loans Payday Lending Debt Collection

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  • Arkansas Securities Department extends work from home guidance for mortgage loan officers

    State Issues

    On May 22, the Arkansas Securities Department extended interim regulatory guidance previously issued to licensed mortgage companies, mortgage loan officers, and branch managers. The original interim regulatory guidance, previously covered here, permits mortgage loan officers to conduct activities requiring a license from home, provided certain data security provisions are met. This guidance is extended through September 1, 2020.

    State Issues Covid-19 Arkansas Securities Mortgages Mortgage Lenders Licensing

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  • Indiana updates notary public requirements

    State Issues

    Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson issued an announcement highlighting new laws and regulations regarding continuing education for notaries public, remote notary authorization, and criminal history record checks for notaries public. As of March 31, active notaries public can receive authorization to conduct remote notarizations if they submit an application, complete an educational course, pay a $100 fee, and contract with an approved technology vendor. The new laws relating to continuing education and criminal history record checks take effect on July 1.

    State Issues Covid-19 Indiana Notary Fintech

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  • NYDFS suspends license expiration for individual insurance producers for an additional 45 days

    State Issues

    On May 21, the New York State Department of Financial Services issued a supplement to Insurance Circular Letter No. 9, previously covered here, suspending the expiration of licenses for all individual insurance producers - brokers, agents, intermediaries, and other persons required to be licensed in order to sell, solicit, or negotiate insurance in New York – through July 8, 2020.

    State Issues Covid-19 NYDFS Licensing Insurance Broker-Dealer

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  • FINRA provides guidance on whether member firms must disclose reliance on agency relief during Covid-19

    Federal Issues

    On May 21, FINRA updated its frequently asked questions (previously discussed herehereherehere, here, and here) to provide additional detail on how and when to document that it has relied on temporary relief from FINRA rules during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Among other things, the updated FAQs also address Form U4 filings and temporary extensions of time to pass qualification examinations for operations professionals.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 FINRA Examination

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  • SBA gives guidance on collecting PPP processing fees

    Federal Issues

    On May 21, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released a procedural notice detailing the Form 1502 reporting process through which lenders will be able to collect the processing fees on eligible Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The SBA will pay lenders’ processing fees for PPP loans, based on the balance of the loan at the time of full disbursement, in the following amounts: (i) five percent for loans of not more than $350,000; (ii) three percent for loans of more than $350,000 and less than $2 million; and (iii) one percent for loans of at least $2 million. Lenders are required to report to the SBA on Form 1502 loans have been fully disbursed or canceled. Form 1502 should be submitted electronically to the SBA by the later of (i) May 29, or (ii) 10 calendar days after disbursement or cancellation of the PPP loan. (This is an updated deadline that was recently reflected in the SBA’s FAQs and was first announced in an interim final rule regarding disbursements under the PPP, covered by InfoBytes here.)

    The SBA will begin accepting 1502 reports on fully disbursed or cancelled PPP loans on May 22. Lenders will not receive a processing fee payment if the loan is canceled before disbursement or if a disbursed loan is canceled or voluntarily terminated but repaid before May 18 (the borrower certification safe harbor date). As detailed in the procedural notice, lenders will be required to create an account in the Fiscal Transfer Agent Lender portal to access and submit Form 1502. The procedural notice includes, among other things, specifics on account creation and reporting. Additionally, the procedural notice contains useful questions and answers, including how the processing fees will be disbursed and when processing fees may be subject to clawbacks from the SBA.

    Federal Issues SBA Department of Treasury Small Business Lending Covid-19

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  • SBA clarifies PPP eligibility for foreign affiliates

    Federal Issues

    On May 21, the SBA recently published an interim final rule (IFR), which addresses the eligibility requirements related to employees of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrower’s foreign affiliates. The SBA reiterated in the IFR that a small business must include foreign affiliate employees when calculating how many people it employs for purposes of determining if the business meets the PPP eligibility requirement of 500 or fewer employees. The SBA acknowledged, however, that previous guidance (covered by InfoBytes here) may have created “reasonable borrower confusion,” so in “an exercise of enforcement discretion,” the agency reiterated that the “SBA will not find any borrower that applied for a PPP loan prior to May 5, 2020 to be ineligible based on the borrower’s exclusion of non-US employees from the borrower’s calculation of its employee headcount if the borrower (together with its affiliates) had no more than 500 employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States.” The SBA further determined that these borrowers will “not be deemed to have made an inaccurate certification of eligibility solely on that basis.”

    The IFR takes effect upon publication in the Federal Register and is applicable to PPP applications submitted through June 30, 2020, or when program funding is exhausted. Comments are due within 30 days.

    Federal Issues Department of Treasury SBA Small Business Lending CARES Act Covid-19 Of Interest to Non-US Persons

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  • Arizona regulator implements adjusted renewal process

    State Issues

    The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions announced the implementation of a new license renewal process that will enable licensees to renew licenses of the parent licensee and its branches at the same time. Previously, licensees were required to complete renewal at the parent level, and then repeat the process for each branch. The department is currently in the first phase of the project, which will cover renewals for advance fee loan brokers, debt management companies, and sales finance companies, which have licenses expiring in June 2020.

    State Issues Covid-19 Arizona Licensing Broker-Dealer

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  • State attorneys general send letter to auto manufacturers regarding Covid-19 practices

    State Issues

    On May 20, a coalition of state attorneys general sent a letter to ten major auto manufacturers relating to reports that dealerships have been engaging in predatory and harmful practices in connection with the return of leased vehicles during the Covid-19 pandemic. The coalition calls upon auto manufacturers to ensure that their financing arms and affiliated dealerships have appropriate controls to timely accept the return of leased vehicles during the pandemic. Further, car dealerships are urged to take certain steps, such as reviewing their lease-return policies for compliance with applicable law, assisting consumers with convenient lease returns, and refunding harmed consumers for certain costs arising from refused lease returns.  

    State Issues Covid-19 State Attorney General Auto Finance

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