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On February 24, HUD announced disaster assistance for certain areas in Nebraska and Iowa impacted by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on December 15, 2021. This follows President Biden’s major disaster declaration for certain counties on February 23. The disaster relief includes providing an automatic 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured home mortgages for covered properties and making FHA insurance available to victims whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged, such that “reconstruction or replacement is necessary.” Additionally, HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program will allow individuals who have lost homes to finance the purchase of a house, or refinance an existing house and the costs of repair, through a single mortgage. The program will also allow homeowners with damaged property to finance the rehabilitation of existing single-family homes. Flexibility measures for state and local governments, public housing authorities, tribes, and tribally designated house entities are also addressed.
On December 2, the Nebraska attorney general launched the Consumer Affairs Response Team (CART) to help state residents address complaints and identify scams related to a wide range of consumer-related issues, such as fraud, identity theft, scams, and unfair and deceptive business practices. CART will accept complaints after a consumer has first made a “good-faith-effort” to resolve any issues directly with a business. If CART determines that the consumer’s complaint falls within its authority, it will engage in the dispute resolution process by facilitating communications between the consumer and the business. CART was created after the AG’s office discovered a 65 percent increase in identity theft reports as well as a 27 percent increase in fraud and other types of consumer scams.
On May 25, the Nebraska governor approved LB 649, the Nebraska Financial Innovation Act, which creates a bank charter for companies that hold cryptocurrencies. The new act defines “digital asset depository institutions” as banks or financial institutions that hold certain digital assets, and will allow existing state-chartered banks to establish areas focused on cryptocurrency services. New businesses will also be able to gain a state banking charter as digital asset depositories. The act provides, among other things, that “at all times, a digital asset depository shall maintain unencumbered liquid assets denominated in United States dollars valued at not less than one hundred percent of the digital assets in custody” and that “compliance with federal and state laws, including, but not limited to, know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering rules and the federal Bank Secrecy Act, is critical to ensuring the future growth and reputation of the blockchain and technology industries as a whole.”
On February 22, the governor of Nebraska announced the launch of an emergency rental assistance program. Through the program Nebraska’s Housing Finance Agency, $158 million in federal stimulus funds will be available for distribution to eligible tenants and landlords.
The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance recently updated its March 12, 2020 guidance regarding temporary branch relocations (previously discussed here). The Department will continue to temporarily allow licensed and sponsored mortgage loan originators (MLOs), loan processors, underwriters, and other staff to work from an unlicensed branch upon notification by the sponsor, and approval by the department. Licensed mortgage bankers who have staff working from unlicensed locations must submit an updated list of those employees to the Department through the NMLS on, or before, March 1, June 1, September 1, and at renewal, in 2021. In addition, licensed MLOs must take certain data security measures and not allow customers to come to the unlicensed location. The guidance is effective January 1, 2021.
On May 18, the director of the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance released guidance allowing state-chartered credit unions to hold their annual meetings and certain special member meetings virtually, provided that certain requirements are met.
On April 27, the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance issued another notice providing updates to its March 25th notice (previously discussed here), which temporarily ceased all regular examinations until April 24. The notice extends the department’s posture to May 15, 2020. The department will continue certain critical examinations related to safety and soundness, consumer protections, or when there is an urgent or immediate need. The department will resume offsite examinations on June 1, predominately using remote access resources.
The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance re-posted FAQs from the Department of the Treasury and Small Business Administration regarding the Paycheck Protection Program. The FAQs clarify that lenders are permitted to make PPP loans to companies owned in whole or in part by an outside director or a less than 30 percent equity holder of the lender, provided no favoritism or prioritization of the director’s or equity holder’s company is involved. This does not apply to companies owned in whole or in part by directors or owners that are key employees of the lender.
On April 15, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson warned that Nebraska law exempts certain income and property of low-income consumers from execution and attachment by creditors and debt collectors. The attorney general also warned that any attempt or threat to garnish or attach CARES Act stimulus funds that are exempt under Nebraska law will be considered an unfair trade practice under Nebraska’s Consumer Protection Act. Finally, the attorney general stated that his office is diligently monitoring consumer complaints, and encouraged consumers to file complaints if they experience aggressive debt collection during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Kathryn L. Ryan to host the affiliate members meeting at AARMR’s 2022 Annual Regulatory Conference & Training
- Kathryn L. Ryan and Jedd R. Bellman to discuss “Risk and compliance management: Are you covered?” at a Mortgage Bankers Association webinar
- Melissa Klimkiewicz and Daniel A. Bellovin to discuss “Things to know about flood insurance” at a NAFCU webinar
- Hank Asbill to discuss “Ethical issues at sentencing” at the 31st Annual National Seminar on Federal Sentencing
- Max Bonici will moderate a panel on “Enforcement risk and other regulatory and compliance issues related to crypto and digital assets” at the American Bar Association’s 2022 Annual Meeting
- John R. Coleman to provide a “CFPB Update” at MBA’s 2022 Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Amanda R. Lawrence to discuss “The shifting data privacy and data protection landscape” at MBA’s 2022 Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Benjamin W. Hutten to discuss “Fundamentals of financial crime compliance” at the Practicing Law Institute
- Benjamin W. Hutten to discuss “Ongoing CDD: Operational considerations” at NAFCU’s Regulatory Compliance & BSA Seminar