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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • Montana Department of Administration provides relief to banks and credit unions regarding annual meetings

    State Issues

    On April 2, the Montana Department of Administration adopted a temporary emergency rule regarding annual meetings held by banks and credit unions during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The rule permits a bank or credit union to hold its annual meeting in the form of a virtual meeting during the Covid-19 pandemic. Such virtual meeting must be live, allow electronic or telephonic participation in the meeting in real-time, and provide simultaneous audio transmission of the meeting.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana Banking Credit Union

  • Montana Secretary of State provides definitions and conditions for technology-based notarizations

    State Issues

    The Montana Secretary of State’s website enumerates four ways to perform notary services in the state. They include traditional notarization, In-Person Electronic Notarization (IPEN or eNotarization), Remote Online Notarization (RON), and remote notarization. The webpage also describes the conditions unique to each type of notary service.  This guidance follows the enactment of full RON, remote notarization on tangible records, as well as IPEN last fall.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana E-Signature Notary

  • Montana governor issues executive order prohibiting evictions, foreclosures, and utility and internet cancellation

    State Issues

    On March 30, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order prohibiting residential foreclosures, evictions, and utility and internet service cancellations. In addition, no borrower may be reported to a credit bureau for failure to pay for the duration of the directive. Citing the requirement for residents to stay at home, Bullock provided that having habitable homes that possess the ability to communicate externally via phone and internet services are paramount to public health and human safety. The directive went into effect immediately and limits the foregoing actions through April 10.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana Foreclosure Mortgages

  • Montana regulator permits non-depository licenses to work from home

    State Issues

    The Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions announced that it is temporarily permitting non-depository licensees and their employees to work from home, whether the home is in Montana or another state. The permission also applies even if the home is not a licensed branch.  Non-depository licensees include, among others, licensed mortgage loan originators, loan processors, and underwriters.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana Licensing

  • Governor of Montana issues stay at home order

    State Issues

    On March 26, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive ordering all non-essential businesses to cease operation, with the exception of business performed solely in a residence. The directive permits essential business to continue operations, but encourages these businesses to practice social distancing to the maximum extent possible. Essential businesses include, among others, financial and real estate institutions and services. Finally, the directive orders residents of Montana to remain at home to the greatest extent possible.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana

  • Montana urges credit unions to work with affected members

    State Issues

    On March 20, the Montana Division of Banking and Financial Services issued guidance urging credit unions to work with members and communities affected by Covid-19. Efforts include, among other things, waiving fees, increasing ATM cash withdrawal limits, easing restrictions on cashing checks, easing credit terms for new loans, offering or expanding payday alternative loan programs, increasing credit card limits, and offering payment accommodations to assist members having payment difficulty. The guidance also noted: (i) that “prudent efforts” to modify loan terms would not be subject to examiner criticism, as long as the efforts are documented; (ii) that the Division would work with credit unions to reduce burden when scheduling examinations and inspections, and utilize off-site reviews; (iii) that credit unions should inform the Division of branch or office closures; and (iv) that attendance via electronic communications would constitute in-person attendance at board, committee, and annual meetings.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana Credit Union

  • Montana Department of Administration provides relief to escrow businesses, mortgage servicers, and mortgage license applicants

    State Issues

    On March 24, the Montana Department of Administration adopted a temporary emergency rule providing relief to Montana escrow businesses, mortgage servicers, and applicants for mortgage licenses. The rule provides persons licensed under the Montana Regulation of Escrow Businesses Act with an extension of 30 days (to May 30, 2020) to file the Montana Escrow Business Annual Financial Statement and Escrow Activities Report. The rule also extends the time period in which mortgage servicers must submit quarterly reports for the quarter ending March 31, 2020, to June 14, 2020. The time period prescribed for mortgage license applications is temporarily extended by 60 days to allow applicants for an initial license a total of 120 days following the department’s notice of deficiency to provide the documents or information before the application will be deemed abandoned.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana Mortgages Licensing

  • Montana regulator issues guidance to state banks and credit unions on operating during outbreak

    State Issues

    On March 19, the Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions issued a supervisory memorandum discussing operations of state-chartered banks and credit unions during the Covid-19 outbreak. The guidance instructs regulated institutions to communicate with the Division using email and electronic file transfer services instead of mail. The guidance also clarifies that the Division considers accepting deposits, providing access to cash and existing customer accounts, and drawing on existing loans to be “essential” services that should be continued during the outbreak, and contains frequently-asked questions about operations and regulatory notifications.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana Bank Compliance Credit Union

  • Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions issues work from home guidance

    State Issues

    The Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions has issued guidance temporarily allowing licensed mortgage loan originators to work from home, whether located in Montana or another state, even if the home is not a licensed branch with some conditions. 

    State Issues Licensing Mortgages Loan Origination Covid-19 Montana

  • Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions encourages financial institutions to work with customers during pandemic

    State Issues

    On March 16, Montana’s Division of Banking and Financial Institutions (Division) announced regulatory guidance encouraging financial institutions to work with customers and communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Specifically, financial institutions are encouraged to engage in various efforts, including: (i) waiving fees such as ATM, overdraft, and late fees; (ii) increasing ATM daily cash withdrawal limits; (iii) easing restrictions on cashing checks; (iv) increasing credit card limits for creditworthy borrowers; and (v) offering payment accommodations, including forbearance.  The Division also addressed financial condition review, supervisory responses, and regulatory relief, as well as reporting requirements, and making alternative service options available to customers.

    State Issues Covid-19 Montana Consumer Finance


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