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Montana Department of Administration provides relief to escrow businesses, mortgage servicers, and mortgage license applicants
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.
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.
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.
Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions encourages financial institutions to work with customers during pandemic
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.
On March 12, the Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions issued a proclamation permitting state-chartered banks and credit unions located in Montana to close any office to protect the health and safety of employees and customers. The proclamation orders all institutions to develop and implement plans to continue providing essential financial services to their customers via ATMs, mobile applications, or drive through windows. Additionally, the proclamation orders all institutions unable to continue providing essential services to immediately notify the Division.