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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Maryland governor authorizes remote notarization; encourages remote closings

    State Issues

    On March 30, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order permitting remote notarization under certain circumstances. Maryland-licensed mortgage lenders are strongly encouraged to use the flexibility provided by the order to conduct loan closings remotely. In conjunction with the order, the Office of the Secretary of State provided guidance on how to conduct remote notarizations. The order remains in effect until termination by the governor.

    State Issues Covid-19 Maryland Mortgages

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  • Maryland banking regulator outlines expectation for working with borrowers

    State Issues

    On March 27, Maryland’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued an industry advisory with guidance regarding consumer credit for borrowers impacted by Covid-19. The guidance warns licensees against using the health crisis as an opportunity to increase fees or interest rates and instructs them to keep applicants and clients informed of disruptions or delays in credit decisions or changes to times and methods of communication. The advisory also “strongly urges” licensees to takes steps to mitigate the health crisis by, among other things: waiving late fees and online and telephone payment fees; foregoing credit reporting or reporting payment information in a manner that minimizes negative impact on credit histories; offering modification, forbearance or other options to allow borrowers to reduce or defer payments; ensuring that borrowers are able to timely make inquiries and manage their accounts; reaching out to borrowers proactively to provide information on available assistance; and ensuring that all borrower-facing staff are fully informed regarding available assistance and proactive in informing borrowers. Licensees are reminded to comply with applicable Maryland law, including all fair lending requirements, and to retain appropriate documentation to support decisions regarding mitigation offers.

    State Issues Covid-19 Maryland Licensing Consumer Finance

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  • Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation issues guidance on consumer credit

    State Issues

    On March 27, Maryland’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued guidance on consumer credit. The guidance urges businesses to: waive late fees as well as online and telephone payment fees; forego negative credit reporting during the health emergency; offer modification, forbearance, and other loss mitigation options; reach out to borrowers proactively to provide information on available assistance; and ensure that all borrower-facing staff are fully informed regarding any assistance available, and are proactive in informing borrowers of such.

    State Issues Covid-19 Maryland Consumer Credit

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  • Maryland issues industry advisory to mortgage servicers

    State Issues

    On March 24, the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued an industry advisory to mortgage servicers. The Commissioner strongly urges all Maryland-licensed mortgage servicers to take reasonable steps immediately to mitigate the impact of this crisis on their customers. Such steps may include, among others specified in the guidance, waiving late fees and online telephone payment fees, foregoing credit reporting during the health emergency or reporting payment information to credit reporting agencies in a manner that minimizes the impact of delinquent payment on borrowers’ credit histories, offering forbearance or other options to allow borrowers to defer payments, and reaching out to borrowers proactively to provide information on available assistance. The advisory also reminds servicers that all foreclosures of residential properties and the evictions in Maryland have been stayed in accordance with an order issued on March 18, 2020.

    State Issues Covid-19 Maryland Mortgages

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  • Maryland Court of Appeals suspends foreclosures and evictions

    State Issues

    On March 18, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an administrative order suspending residential foreclosures and evictions during the Covid-19 emergency. The order immediately stays (i) foreclosures of residential properties and foreclosures of the rights of redemption of residential properties pending in the circuit courts, and (ii) residential eviction matters pending in the District Court of Maryland and all pending residential eviction orders. Additionally, new foreclosure of residential property, foreclosure of rights of redemption after a tax sale, and residential evictions will be stayed upon filing. The order does not establish an expiration date, but will be “revised as circumstances warrant.”

    State Issues Courts Foreclosure Mortgages Covid-19 Maryland

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  • Maryland Secretary of State extends notary public terms

    State Issues

    On March 20, the Maryland Office of the Secretary of State issued a notice extending the four-year statutory term for all notaries public with an active commission. The notice will remain in effect until 30 days after the state of emergency has been terminated.

    State Issues Covid-19 Maryland

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  • Maryland regulator issues statement on working with customers affected by Coronavirus, provides regulatory relief

    State Issues

    On March 19, the Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued a statement encouraging financial institutions to take steps to meet the financial services needs of customers and communities adversely impacted by Covid-19, stating that prudent efforts to modify the terms of an existing loan to adversely impacted borrowers will not be subject to examiner criticism.  The Office also noted that it will provide regulatory relief to financial institutions affected by Covid-19 related issues, including working with institutions facing difficulty meeting regulatory reporting deadlines, making greater use of remote off-site reviews, and considering the extraordinary circumstances when determining any supervisory response to an institution’s financial condition, especially if that condition is caused by an increase in delinquent or non-performing loans.

    State Issues Covid-19 Maryland

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  • Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation issues Covid-19 guidance

    State Issues

    On March 13, the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued a bulletin advising that regulated entities should have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place that identifies how they will respond to various disasters and emergencies. The bulletin also identifies questions received from regulated entities and the Commissioner’s responses. Specifically, the Commissioner responded to questions regarding working from unlicensed locations, preferred methods of communication with the Commissioner, and notification to the Commissioner if a licensed business is closed because of mass quarantines during any part of an examination.

    State Issues Examination Covid-19 Mortgages Licensing Maryland

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