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On September 25, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities adopted provisions regarding mortgage servicing regulations. Among other things, the regulations clarify the definition of a “COVID-19 related hardship,” establish general disclosure requirements, and provide early intervention and loss mitigation procedures and options. Specifically, the regulations establish that until October 22, 2022, a servicer must, after establishing live contact for borrowers not in forbearance programs, inform them that forbearance programs are available for those experiencing a “COVID-19-related hardship” and must list and describe these forbearance programs and the actions the borrower must take to be evaluated for the programs, among other things. Additionally, for borrowers in forbearance programs at the time of live contact, servicers, until October 22, 2022, must provide the end date of the borrower’s current forbearance program, a list and description of the types of forbearance extensions, and a way that the borrower can find contact information for homeownership counseling services, among other things. The regulations also establish loss mitigation procedures in that a servicer may offer a borrower a loss mitigation option based upon evaluation of an incomplete application, provided that certain criteria are met. In addition, the regulations create certain Covid-19-related loan modification options, such as a loan modification can be made available to borrowers experiencing a Covid-19-related hardship. The regulations are effective immediately.
On September 16, the FDIC issued FIL-67-2021 to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and help facilitate recovery in areas of Pennsylvania affected by Hurricane Ida. The FDIC acknowledged the unusual circumstances faced by institutions in affected areas, and suggested institutions take certain steps to meet the needs of their communities and keep the FDIC informed of business impacts. These steps include (i) working with borrowers to adjust or alter loan terms in a safe and sound manner; (ii) identifying potential community development activities to revitalize or stabilize the disaster area (which the FDIC noted may receive favorable CRA consideration); (iii) monitoring potentially impacted municipal securities and loans; (iv) notifying the FDIC of delays in meeting filing and publishing requirements, or in the event temporary banking facilities are needed; and (v) processing consumer requests under Regulation Z for a waiver or modification of the three-day rescission period for dwelling-secured loans in the event of a “bona fide personal financial emergency.”
On August 10, the Pennsylvania governor announced that $96 million in state grants have been awarded to small businesses impacted by Covid-19 through the Covid-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance fund. The announcement notes that the second and final round of funding has opened and will run through August 28. Eligible applicants that did not receive funding in the first round do not need to reapply and will be considered in the second round. The grants may be used to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, including for technical assistance and training related to the stabilization and reopening of businesses.
On July 10, the Pennsylvania governor signed an executive order authorizing state agencies to conduct administrative proceedings remotely. State executive and independent agencies are authorized to (i) limit in-person access to administrative proceedings to protect the health and safety of agency personnel and members of the public and (ii) use video, telephonic, or other online conferencing equipment or services to conduct administrative hearings without the consent of the parties, at the discretion of the presiding officer or hearing examiner. The agencies must establish procedures for conducting in-person, video, and telephonic administrative hearings and publish them on the agency webpage. The order will remain in effect until the disaster emergency expires or is terminated.
On July 9, the Pennsylvania governor issued an order staying requirements for certain actions related to the dispossession of property. The order stays notice requirements under Act 6 and Act 91 for the initiation of foreclosure actions between July 10 and August 31. The order also stays notice requirements under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 and the Manufactured Home Community Rights Act for the same period. These suspensions only apply to matters involving nonpayment and proceedings related to the removal of tenants who have held over or exceeded the term of the lease, and do not apply to requirements relating to evictions for other breaches. Further, the order does not apply in certain instances set forth therein, including for federally-backed loans for which the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions has been extended until August 31, 2020, by the VA, USDA, FHA, and FHFA.
On May 19, the Pennsylvania governor issued a revised executive order permitting all businesses in the real estate industry to commence in-person operations, and the Department of Health made corresponding revisions to previous orders to implement the change. Concurrently, the Pennsylvania Department of State issued guidance to the real estate industry, which contains requirements for conducting in-person operations in a manner that protects the health of customers and employees.
On May 6, the Pennsylvania Department of State announced that it waived the requirement that real estate professionals attend certain required pre-licensing and continuing education courses in person. Such courses may now be live-streamed.
On May 6, the Pennsylvania Department of State extended deadlines for appointed notaries to get sworn in, record a bond, oath and commission with the Recorder of Deeds, and register their signatures with the Prothonotary’s office. Previously, all such actions were required to occur within 45 days of the appointment. The Department of State provided an additional 30 days.
On May 4, the Pennsylvania Department of State announced that it extended the deadline for individuals whose applications to become certified real estate appraisers have been approved to take and pass the appraiser certification examination. Previously, approved applicants had one year to take and pass the examination. The department waived the one-year limitation for applicants whose one-year approval is in danger of expiring due to the closure of testing sites. Impacted applicants now have two years to sit for the examination.
On May 1, the Bureau of Occupational and Professional Affairs issued a statement regarding phased reopening of Pennsylvania. For all “red’ counties, the March 19 stay-at-home order was extended until June 4, 2020. In counties designated as being in the yellow phase of reopening, most businesses, including non-essential businesses, are permitted to reopen so long as they comply with social distancing restrictions and other guidance issued by the governor’s office.
- Daniel R. Alonso to moderate an interactive roundtable at the Latin Lawyer and GIR Connect: Anti-Corruption & Investigations Conference
- APPROVED Checkpoint Webcast: You have license renewal questions, we have answers
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Fintech trends” at the BIHC Network Elevating Black Excellence Regional Summit
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss "Truth in lending” at the American Bar Association National Institute on Consumer Financial Services Basics
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss anti-money-laundering at FELABAN Spanish-language webinar “Perspective for banks: LAFT, FINCEN, OFAC, Cryptocurrency”
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss "What’s new in BSA/AML compliance?" at the Institute of International Bankers Regulatory Compliance Seminar
- Jon David D. Langlois to discuss "Regulatory update: What you need to know under the new boss; It won’t be the same as the old boss" at the IMN Residential Mortgage Service Rights Forum (East)
- Benjamin B. Klubes to discuss “Creating a Fantastic Workplace Culture”
- John R. Coleman and Amanda R. Lawrence to discuss “Consumer financial services government enforcement actions – The CFPB and beyond” at the Government Investigations & Civil Litigation Institute Annual Meeting
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Consumer financial services" at the Practising Law Institute Banking Law Institute
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Regulators always ring twice: Responding to a government request” at ALM Legalweek