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Recently, the Mississippi governor signed HB 687, which establishes debt management services and licensing requirements. According to the bill, debt management service is defined as “[t]he receiving of money from a consumer for the purpose of distributing one or more payments to or among one or more creditors of the consumer in full or partial payment of the consumer's obligation,” among other things. A debt management service provider is “a person that provides or offers to provide to a consumer in this state any debt management services, in return for a fee or other consideration.” A debt management service provider does not include “[a]ny institution that is regulated, supervised or licensed by the department or any out-of-state institution that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the National Credit Union Administration,” among other things. Additionally, one cannot operate as a debt management service provider with respect to consumers who are residents of this state without a license. The bill is effective July 1.
On July 21, the Mississippi attorney general announced a settlement with an auto finance company to resolve alleged violations of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. The AG claimed the auto finance company, among other things, allegedly placed consumers into loans with a high probability of default and engaged in aggressive collection practices. Under the terms of the settlement, the auto finance company will pay $3.7 million to the state, including $1.8 million in consumer restitution, and will stop collecting on loans allegedly extinguished under Mississippi law. Additionally, the auto finance company (i) will account for a borrower’s ability to pay and set a reasonable debt-to-income threshold; (ii) may not require dealers to sell any ancillary products; (iii) will “monitor dealers for possible inflation, power booking, or expense deflation”; (iv) may “not misrepresent a consumer’s prospect of redeeming a vehicle that has been repossessed”; (v) may not require borrowers to make payments through methods requiring additional third-party fees; and (vi) will notify all relevant credit reporting agencies that the borrowers’ debts have been extinguished.
On April 21, the FDIC issued FIL-47-2020 to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and help facilitate recovery in areas of Mississippi affected by a recent series of severe weather. In the letter, the FDIC encourages institutions to consider, among other things, (i) extending repayment terms; (ii) restructuring existing loans; or (iii) easing terms for new loans to borrowers affected by the severe weather, provided the measures are “done in a manner consistent with sound banking practices, can contribute to the health of the local community and serve the long-term interests of the lending institution.” Additionally, the FDIC notes that institutions may receive Community Reinvestment Act consideration for community development loans, investments, and services in support of disaster recovery. The FDIC states it will also consider relief from certain filing and publishing requirements.
Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief guidance here.
On April 6, the governor of Mississippi issued an executive order permitting remote notarizations. To perform a remote notarization under the terms of the order, the notary and the principal must be using two-way audio and visual communication at the time of signing. Additionally, the notary public must reasonably identify the principal, create an audiovisual recording of the act, retain the recording, and ensure that the intended document relates to a matter in Mississippi, among other things. Notaries public intending to perform remote notarizations may use this form to notify the secretary of state.
On March 24, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves ordered certain restrictions on social gatherings and restrictions on certain non-essential businesses. Any “Essential Business or Operation” may perform services or functions without regard to the limitations. Financial services, including banks, insurance, payroll, accounting, and processing services related to financial markets, and real estate services, including appraisal and title services, are deemed Essential Business.
On March 14, the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance (DBCF) issued memoranda to Consumer Finance Licensees and Mortgage Licensees that includes general guidance to the industry and “outline[s] flexibility in DBCF processes in response to the COVID-19 event.” Among other things, the guidance advises licensees to periodically review related risk management plans (specifically continuity and pandemic plans) to ensure continuity of products and services with minimal disruption. It also advises that, if “necessary and appropriate,” licensees may relocate offices or have employees work from home. Additionally, effective March 13, the DBCF will discontinue onsite examinations. During this time, DBCF will be available to assist the industry and consumers via telephone and email communication.
On March 16, the DBCF issued interim guidance allowing mortgage loan originators to temporarily work from home, whether located in Mississippi or another state, even if the home is not a licensed branch provided certain requirements are met.
On March 16, the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance (DBCF) issued guidance granting authority for licensed mortgage origination companies to permit MLOs to work from home, even if the home is not a licensed branch. The DBCF stated that as long as applicable data security requirements are met, the DBCF will not take punitive action against a licensed MLO for conducting activities from home.
On March 14, the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance (DBCF) issued a memorandum to remind licensees to review risk management plans, including business continuity and pandemic plans, to ensure continuity of services. In addition, the guidance recommends licensees to: work with consumers impacted by Covid-19, be prepared for disruptions to availability of key personnel, and notify DBCF of any issues relating to events caused by Covid-19.
Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance encourages institutions to work with customers during pandemic
On March 13, Mississippi’s Department of Banking and Consumer Finance 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 Department also addressed financial condition review, supervisory responses, and regulatory relief, as well as reporting requirements, and making alternative service options available to customers.
- John R. Coleman to discuss “CFPB update” at the MBA Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Kathryn L. Ryan to discuss "State licensing and NMLS challenges" at MBA’s Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Fair lending and equal opportunity laws” at the MBA Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss “Contemplating the boundaries of UDAAP” at the MBA Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Steven vonBerg to speak at closing “super session“ on compliance topics at MBA Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Buckley Webcast: Fifth Circuit muddles CFPB’s plans to use in-house judges in enforcement proceedings
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss “Understanding the ESG impact on compliance” at the ABA’s Regulatory Compliance Conference