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Recently, the Minnesota Department of Commerce issued a consent order assessing $20,000 in fines to a debt collector accused of violating a 2020 consent order. The state previously entered into a consent order with the debt collector, in which it agreed to cease and desist from violating the FDCPA and state law after it was found to have, among other things, commingled funds and allowed agents to work from unlicensed branch locations. The state later found that the debt collector allegedly continued to violate state and federal law by collecting on payday loans from unlicensed lenders and failing to provide meaningful disclosures on telephone calls or register several of its agents as debt collectors in the state. As a result, the state ordered the debt collector to pay the stayed portion of the 2020 fine ($19,000), as well as a $25,000 civil penalty of which $24,000 is stayed. If the stay has not been lifted by December 31, 2025, the remaining portion of the civil penalty will be vacated provided the debt collector does not commit any further violations.
On December 15, the Minnesota Commerce Department issued guidance regarding non-depository financial institution telework. The guidance provides that if the licensed location is still offering financial products or services, employees can work from home to perform tasks as long as the following are met: (i) transactions are tied to the licensed/registered location; (ii) consumers are not physically going to an unlicensed location (e.g., employee’s home); (iii) no physical records are maintained at the unlicensed location; and (iv) the employee is able to maintain the company’s data security policies and standards while working remotely.
Minnesota issues executive order modifying suspensions of evictions and writs of recovery and requesting foreclosure moratorium
On July 14, the Minnesota governor issued Executive Order 20-79, which modifies the previous suspension of evictions and writs of recovery during the Covid-19 emergency. Among other things, the order limits the ability of property owners, mortgage holders, and others to file an eviction action, including for failure to pay rent or material violation of the lease, subject to certain exceptions. Further, the executive order limits residential landlords’ ability to terminate residential leases during the Covid-19 emergency. Officers must also cease executing writs of recovery of premises, subject to certain exceptions. Financial institutions holding home mortgages are requested to implement an immediate moratorium on all pending and future foreclosures arising from a substantial decrease in income or substantial out of pocket medical expenses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, or any local, state, or federal governmental response to Covid-19. Financial institutions are also strongly urged not to impose late fees or other penalties for late mortgage payments related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The provisions of the executive order take effect on August 4, 2020, when Executive Order 20-73 (previously covered here) and Executive Order 20-14 (previously covered here) are rescinded.
Minnesota Commerce Department issues guidance related to temporary resident insurance producer licenses
On July 10, the Minnesota Commerce Department issued Regulatory Guidance 20-34, which provides information relating to the issuance of temporary resident insurance producer licenses. The Minnesota Department of Commerce will issue temporary producer licenses to applicants who meet the requirements for resident licensure under Minnesota law without requiring examination or the submission of fingerprints, subject to conditions set forth in the guidance. To apply for the license, the sponsoring insurer or agency must submit the application on behalf of the temporary producer licensee. The license will be valid for 180 days, it may not be renewed or reinstated if it lapses, and it may not be converted to a regular producer license.
On June 5, the Minnesota governor issued Executive Order 20-73, which clarifies an earlier executive order, previously covered here, that suspends evictions and writs of recovery during the Covid-19 outbreak. The executive order adds an exception to the moratorium on evictions where a tenant seriously endangers the safety of others on the premises, or poses a danger to others who are not residents, if the serious endangerment of others who are not residents is a material violation of the lease.
Minnesota Department of Commerce extends certain licensing application deadlines for insurance producers and real estate brokers
On May 27, the Minnesota Department of Commerce issued an order modifying certain regulatory deadlines as set forth in Regulatory Guidance 20-29, 20-30, 20-31, 20-32, and 20-33. Guidance 20-29 through 20-32 extends the deadlines for insurance producer and adjuster renewal applications, and Guidance 20-33 extends the deadline for certain real estate broker license applicants to complete their applications.
On May 4, the Minnesota governor issued an executive order that classifies recovery rebates under the CARES Act as “government assistance based on need” under Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 550.37, subdivision 14. As a result, such recovery rebates are exempt from all claims by creditors, except claims for domestic support obligations. Additionally, for purposes other than domestic support obligations, state, local, and tribal government payments issued to relieve consumers of the adverse economic impact caused by Covid-19 are also considered government aid and, thus, exempt from claims by creditors. The order also suspends the provisions that permit: (i) service of a garnishment summons on a consumer debtor of consumer garnishee; (ii) prejudgment garnishment on a consumer debtor, and (iii) a judgment creditor to obtain information about a consumer debtor’s assets, liabilities, and personal earnings. The order will remain in effect until the peacetime emergency declared in Executive Order 20-01 is terminated or until the order is rescinded.
On May 1, Minnesota’s commissioner of commerce issued an order modifying certain regulatory deadlines as set forth in Regulatory Guidance 20-25 and 20-26 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Guidance 20-25 extends the deadline for certain insurers to file annual reports due on or before May 1, 2020 until June 1, 2020. Guidance 20-26 allows banks that acquire “other real estate” as defined by Minn. Stat. § 48.21 to defer the requirement to obtain an appraisal for up to 120 days.
On April 24, the Minnesota governor issued an executive order permitting Minnesota businesses and shareholders of corporations subject to the reporting requirements of sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to conduct remote shareholder meetings, provided that certain requirements are met. Additionally, if it is impracticable for a corporation to convene a currently noticed meeting of shareholders at a physical location due to Covid-19, the corporation may adjourn the meeting to another date or time, to be held by remote communication, provided certain requirements are met.
Minnesota Commerce Department issues guidance to state banks and state credit unions regarding fraud with paper stimulus checks
On April 22, the Minnesota Commerce Department issued letters to officers of state banks and state credit unions alerting them of potential fraud that may arise in connection with the receipt of paper stimulus checks ordered under the CARES Act. The letters link to the Treasury and Secret Service guidance that highlights Treasury check security features and includes a link to a check verification application.
- Benjamin W. Hutten to discuss “Ongoing CDD: Operational considerations” at NAFCU’s Regulatory Compliance & BSA Seminar
- James C. Chou to discuss ransomware at NAFCU’s Regulatory Compliance & BSA seminar
- Jedd R. Bellman to provide an “Attorney exemption/medical debt update” at the North American Collection Agency Regulatory Association annual conference
- Kathryn L. Ryan to discuss “What should crypto regulation look like: Legislation, regulation and consumer issues” at WCL's First Annual Virtual Currency Law Institute
- Elizabeth E. McGinn to discuss “How to mitigate and manage third-party risks: Leveraging tools and best practices” at The Knowledge Group’s webcast
- Elizabeth E. McGinn, Benjamin W. Hutten, and James C. Chou to discuss “The evolving regulatory landscape: Third-party and cyber risk management” at the 2022 mWISE Conference
- Sherry-Maria Safchuk to discuss “For your eyes only: Privacy updates for 2022-2023” at CCFL’s Annual Consumer Financial Services Conference
- James T. Parkinson to present a “Global anti-corruption update” at IBA’s annual conference