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On March 22, the Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Courts issued an administrative order directing that, effective immediately and until further order, no papers will be accepted for filing by a county clerk or court in any matter not considered an “essential matter.” Essential matters include certain criminal matters, family court matters, Supreme Court matters, civil/housing matters, and any other matters the court deems essential. The list of essential proceedings is subject to ongoing review and amendment, as necessary.
On March 21, the New York governor issued an executive order stating that it is an “unsafe and unsound business practice” for banks to fail to “grant a forbearance to any person or business who has a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of 90 days.” The Order directs the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to promulgate emergency regulations to mandate that applications for forbearance be made widely available for consumers. Additionally, the order empowers the NYDFS to promulgate emergency regulations to direct that, solely for the period of the Covid-19 emergency, fees for the use of automated teller machines (ATMs), overdraft fees and credit card late fees, may be restricted or modified in accordance with the Superintendent’s regulation of licensed or regulated entities, “taking into account the financial impact on the New York consumer, the safety and soundness of the licensed or regulated entity, and any applicable federal requirements.”
On March 25, the NYDFS suspended the license expiration of all individuals who are licensed insurance producers – brokers, agents, intermediaries and other persons required to be licensed in order to sell, solicit or negotiate insurance in New York – for 60 days. The NYDFS issued the temporary suspension in light of the hardship that individuals may face obtaining the continuing education credits required for license renewals. At the end of this 60-day period, all licenses that would have expired without the extension will automatically expire unless the producer has submitted a license renewal application and completed all necessary continuing education credits.
New York regulator issues guidance urging financial institutions and mortgage servicers to work with borrowers
On March 19, the New York Department of Financial Services issued guidance urging its regulated institutions to work with members and communities affected by Covid-19. Efforts include, among other things, waiving fees, providing new loans on favorable terms, increasing ATM cash withdrawal limits, waiving early withdrawal penalties on time deposits, increasing credit card limits, and offering payment accommodations to assist borrowers having payment difficulty.
The issuance followed a similar guidance aimed at regulated and exempt mortgage servicers to work with borrowers adversely impacted by Covid-19. Among other things, servicers should consider (i) forbearing payments for 90 days, (ii) refraining from adverse credit reporting for 90 days; (iii) offering additional time for trial loan modifications; (iv) waiving late fees and online payment fees; and (v) postponing foreclosures and evictions for 90 days.
Each guidance recommends that institutions proactively reach out to customers via app, text, email or otherwise to identify the assistance being offered.
On March 24, New York’s Department of Financial Services extended the deadlines for regulated institutions to respond to the Department’s March 10 requests for their plans to manage the financial and operational risk caused by Covid-19 until May 25.
On March 19, the New York Governor signed Executive Order 202.7, mandating that all non-essential businesses that require in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent, and directing implementation of work-from-home policies. Banks are considered essential services, and are not subject to the Executive Order. The Executive Order also authorized notary services to be performed utilizing audio-visual technology, provided compliance with certain conditions for authentication and process can be met.
On March 12, the Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services ordered temporary relief to New York certain financial institutions to temporarily relocate or close branch offices or places of business if adversely affected by Covid-19, “without complying with the prior notice or application requirements of the Banking Law or Financial Services Law.” However, licensed individuals may not conduct licensable activities in person with members of the public at or from their personal residence. Authorization was also given for 45-day extensions to filing deadlines for certain certifications and annual and quarterly filings.
On March 17, the governor and the attorney general of New York announced that, effective immediately, New York will temporarily postpone collection efforts on certain debts. Consumers with student loan debt and medical debt owed to the state will be receive at least a 30-day hiatus on payments—including a freeze on the accrual of interest on the debts—in order to allow them to deal with the effects of Covid-19. Debts must fit certain criteria in order to qualify for the debt payment freeze. Among other things, the criteria include (i) “[p]atients that owe medical debt due to the five state hospitals and the five state veterans' home[s]”; (ii) “[s]tudents that owe student debt due to State University of New York campuses”; and (iii) “[i]ndividual debtors, sole-proprietors, small business owners, and certain homeowners that owe debt relating to oil spill cleanup and removal costs, property damage, and breach of contract, as well as other fees owed to state agencies.” New Yorkers who have other types of debt that are owed to the state and who are referred to the Office of the Attorney General may apply for a temporary freeze on collection by submitting an application which can be found here.
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss "Post-pandemic CFPB exam preparation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Spring Conference & Expo
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Making fair lending work for you" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Spring Conference & Expo
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Reading the tea leaves of President Biden’s initial financial appointees" at LendIt Fintech
- APPROVED Webcast: Staying in the know with Buckley regtech solutions
- Moorari K. Shah to discuss “CA, NY, federal licensing and disclosure” at the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association Legal Forum
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Compliance under Biden" at the WSJ Risk & Compliance Forum
- Sherry-Maria Safchuk to discuss UDAAP at an American Bar Association webinar
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss "What to expect: The new administration and regulatory changes" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “The future of fair lending” at the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Steven R. vonBerg to discuss "LO comp challenges" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss "Major litigation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss “The False Claims Act today” at the Federal Bar Association Qui Tam Section Roundtable