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On March 25, Ginnie Mae announced that it will extend the deadline for the submission of Annual Audited Financial Statements to April 30 for lenders with a fiscal year end of December. Ginnie Mae encourages lenders to complete their Audited Annual Financial Statements—if they are able—within 90 days of the end of the lender’s fiscal year.
On March 25, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that in order to provide additional relief for student loan borrowers, the Department will take a number of actions which include the following:
- Stop collection activities and wage garnishments for at least 60 days, effective March 13;
- Stop requests to the Department of Treasury to withhold funds from “defaulted borrowers' federal income tax refunds, Social Security payments, and other federal payments”;
- Refund almost $2 billion to over 830,000 borrowers from funds previously withheld as of March 13;
- Direct private collection agencies to “halt all proactive collection activities, including making phone calls to borrowers and issuing collection letters and billing statements,” however, “[p]rivate collection agencies are permitted to provide assistance upon the borrower's request”;
- Begin to “monitor employers' compliance with the request to stop wage garnishment.” Those “[b]orrowers whose wages continue to be garnished after March 13 should contact their employers' human resources department.”
Borrowers with defaulted loans who would like to “continu[e] a prior payment arrangement, consolidat[e] their loans, or begin a loan rehabilitation arrangement with their private collection agency, should contact the Department's Default Resolution Group at 1-800-621-3115 (TTY for the deaf or hearing-impaired 1-877-825-9923).”
For more information, borrowers may visit StudentAid.gov/coronavirus.
On March 25, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a statement addressing the potential impact of Covid-19 on firms’ LIBOR transition plans. While the FCA states that the assumption that firms cannot rely on LIBOR being published after the end of 2021 is unchanged, it acknowledges that Covid-19 has impacted the timing of some aspects of the transition programs for many firms. The FCA states that it will continue to assess the impact on transition timelines and will update the market as soon as possible.
Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on LIBOR here.
On March 25, the SEC announced that publicly traded companies have an additional 45 days, subject to certain conditions, to file annual and quarterly reports in an effort to help businesses whose operations may be affected by Covid-19. Disclosure reports due between March 1 and July 1 will be eligible for extensions if companies can justify the need, the SEC stated in the announcement, which supersedes and extends a previously issued order on March 4. To qualify for an extension, “companies must continue to convey through a current report a summary of why the relief is needed in their particular circumstances for each periodic report that is delayed.” In addition, the SEC issued orders (see here and here) that will give certain investment funds and investment advisors more time to meet filing and delivery requirements and more flexibility to avoid in-person meetings. These orders broaden and extend relief that the SEC announced earlier this month (covered by InfoBytes here). The announcement also provides public company disclosure guidance as well as additional information with respect to certain obligations under various securities laws.
On March 25, CSBS President and CEO John W. Ryan sent a letter to Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin encouraging the agencies to create a liquidity facility under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act to support mortgage servicers “in anticipation of widespread borrower payment forbearance.” According to the letter, CSBS members—state regulatory agencies responsible for regulating bank and nonbank financial companies—have expressed concerns regarding liquidity and solvency in the mortgage servicing sector, and are particularly focused on monitoring the financial condition of nonbank mortgage servicers. Without a liquidity facility, CSBS warned that “mortgage servicers will experience a severe liquidity shortage that may threaten their continued viability, and by extension, the health of the nation’s housing finance market.”
On March 24, the CFPB announced the resources available on the Bureau’s website to assist consumers in protecting their personal finances during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Director Kathy Kraninger, the Bureau “want[s] consumers to know the various steps they can take to help themselves or a loved one, both in the short and long term. Our resources address situations ranging from consumers having difficulty paying their bills or meeting other financial obligations to consumers experiencing a loss of income to avoiding scams.” Resources also include links detailing how consumers who experience problems with financial products or services can file effective complaints, what steps consumers can take to protect older adults, and how consumers can protect their credit during the pandemic. The Bureau will continue to update the website regularly with additional Covid-19 related content.
On March 24, the Federal Reserve (Fed) released a statement regarding adjustments to supervisory activities that the agency is making as a result of Covid-19. Among the changes, the Fed plans to (i) “temporarily reduce its examination activities,” including ceasing regular exam activities for banks with less than $100 billion in assets, unless the exam is critical to safety and soundness or consumer protection, or to address urgent or immediate needs; (ii) conduct all examination activities off-site; (iii) “focus on monitoring and outreach”; (iv) provide an additional 90 days to financial institutions “for resolving non-critical existing supervisory findings”; and (v) “work with financial institutions to understand the specific issues they are facing.” Those institutions subject to the upcoming Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review must submit their capital plans by April 6.
On March 20, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling which “confirm[s] that the [Covid-19] pandemic constitutes an ‘emergency’ under the…[(TCPA)].” Accordingly, “hospitals, health care providers, state and local health officials, and other government officials may lawfully communicate information about [Covid-19] as well as mitigation measures without violating federal law.” The “emergency purposes” exception to the TCPA means that these callers “may lawfully make automated calls and send automated text messages to wireless telephone numbers” in order to effectively communicate with the public regarding the “imminent health risk” caused by Covid-19. The content of the communications “must be solely informational, made necessary because of the [Covid-19] outbreak, and directly related to the imminent health or safety risk arising” from the pandemic. Excluded from this emergency exception to the TCPA are debt collection calls, advertising calls, and automated telemarketing calls, which continue to require the prior express consent of the called party.
On March 25, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued an Order to Self-Isolate for all individuals living in Idaho except for those providing or receiving certain services or activities or engaged in essential businesses. Banks, credit unions, and financial institutions, including processing and maintaining systems for processing financial transactions and services are deemed essential business. Idaho also has published a List of Essential Services.
On March 24, the Indiana governor issued a Stay at Home Order, for all residents except for those leaving their homes or residences for essential activities, essential governmental functions, or to participate in essential business and operations. Essential business and operations include financial and insurance institutions.
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- Hank Asbill to discuss "What judges want from trial lawyers" at the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Anatomy of a Trial: Murder Trial of Ziang Sung Wan
- Benjamin W. Hutten to discuss "Understanding OFAC sanctions" at a NAFCU webinar
- Warren W. Traiger to discuss "Key takeaways from proposed CRA modernization" at the New York Bankers Association Technology, Compliance & Risk Management Forum
- Garylene D. Javier to discuss "Navigating workplace culture in 2020" at the DC Bar Conference