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On March 24, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Securities Division (DFI) announced it will take no action to enforce various provisions of the Securities Act in response to the Covid-19 crisis. This includes offering relief for: (i) registration and filing requirements for professionals required to be registered with the division; (ii) the requirement to obtain physical signatures on the U4 form (Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer); and (iii) annual update filings and document delivery requirements by state-registered investment advisers.
Financial professionals who rely on such no-action relief must keep a copy of the state order in their records to demonstrate their reliance on it. This no-action relief will remain in effect until April 30, 2020, unless extended or rescinded.
Washington Department of Financial Institutions issues notice concerning signature and notary requirements
On March 20, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions issued a notice concerning signature requirements on applications and notice filings required during the Covid-19 outbreak. The notice provides that the Securities Division requires all franchise filings to be made electronically through its online electronic filing system, and will not require “wet” signatures on filings. Where a signature is required, copies (including PDF copies) of signed documents are sufficient. Additionally, the Securities Division is waiving any notary requirements during the Covid-19 outbreak.
On March 20, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions issued guidance to Washington State regulated and exempt residential mortgage loan servicers regarding support for borrowers impacted by Covid-19. The guidance urges servicers to support adversely impacted mortgagors by, among other things, forbearing mortgage payments for 90 days from their due dates, refraining from reporting late payments to credit rating agencies for 90 days, offering mortgagors an additional 90-day grace period to complete loan modifications, waving late payment fees and online payment fees for 90 days, postponing foreclosures for 90 days, and proactively reaching out to mortgagors to explain the assistance being offered to mortgagors. Such services are also required to ensure that mortgagors do not experience a disruptions of services if the servicer closes its offices. The guidance notes that reasonable and prudent efforts to assist mortgagers will not be subject to examiner criticism.
On March 20, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) issued guidance urging mortgage servicers to work with mortgage borrowers who are being impacted by Covid-19. The DFI suggests a number of ways in which servicers can help including, among other things, (i) mortgage payment forbearance; (ii) not reporting late payments to credit rating agencies; (iii) an additional 90-day grace period to complete trial loan modifications; (iv) waiving late payment fees; (v) suspending foreclosures for 90 days; and (vi) proactively communicating with borrowers regarding available assistance options. The DFI also provides additional Covid-19 resources on its website here.
On March 5, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Consumer Services issued interim regulatory guidance expressing the Department’s intent to temporarily allow licensed mortgage loan originators to work from home, whether located in Washington State or another state, even if the home is not a licensed branch provided certain conditions are met. The Department also published a website providing Covid-19 resources for DFI licensees.
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