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On August 20, the Maine governor launched a $200 million economic grant program to assist Maine small businesses and nonprofits. To qualify for a grant, a business or nonprofit must demonstrate financial relief need due to Covid-19 impacts or a related public health response. Additionally, the business or organization must meet eligibility requirements, including having “significant operations” in Maine and being current and in good standing with certain tax filings through July 31, 2020. Grants may be used to cover expenses including, payroll costs and expenses, rent or mortgage payments for business facilities, and utilities payments. The application period begins on August 21, 2020, and runs through September 2, 2020. Awards will be made in early October. Additional information about the program can be found on the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development’s website.
On May 1, the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Real Estate Commission, adopted an emergency rule extending the time period during which applicants for a sales agent license have to pass the sales agent examination after they successfully complete the sales agent course. The time is extended from one year to 180 days after testing sites fully reopen.
On April 21, Maine’s governor issued an executive order concerning the Covid-19 Loan Guarantee Program recently established by Maine’s legislature. The order suspends the enforcement of certain statutory lending requirements law to allow financial institutions to consider a consumer’s creditworthiness and extent the amortization period of loans issued pursuant to the program. The order also extends certain grace periods, repayment periods, and claims provisions.
On April 16, the governor of Maine issued an executive order prohibiting landlords and property owners from attempting to evict a tenant by means not authorized by law and prohibiting the serving of writs of possession upon tenants in certain circumstances. The executive order also extends the notice periods for evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent where such late payment is due to loss of income caused by Covid-19. The order will expire 30 days after the termination of the Covid-19 state of emergency, unless amended or rescinded earlier.
On April 14, Maine Supreme Court Acting Chief Justice Andrew Meade issued a revised emergency order providing court guidelines for navigating the Covid-19 crisis. The guidelines pertained to the types of cases the courts will schedule and hear; exceptions and motion-filing procedures; postponement of jury trials and grand jury proceedings; boards, committees, and continuing legal education; and hearing of oral arguments. The revised order supersedes the initial order issued from March 30, and is effective until May 1, unless otherwise changed, revised, or lifted.
Maine governor issues order and guidelines regarding temporary suspension of in-person notary requirements
On April 8, Maine Governor Janet Mills issued an executive order temporarily suspending certain in-person notarization requirements due to the Covid-19 crisis. The order details the requirements for remote notarization, including use of two-way, audio-video communication technology, and recording requirements. Governor Mills’ order is set to terminate 30 days after termination of the Covid-19 state of emergency, unless otherwise amended.
On April 8, the Maine governor issued an executive order permitting remote notarization, provided that certain requirements set forth in the order are met. On April 24, the Maine governor issued a subsequent executive order that extends the time period required for certain steps in the remote notarization process. The executive orders will remain in effect until 30 days after the termination of the Covid-19 state of emergency, unless amended or rescinded at an earlier time.
Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions issues statement to financial institutions about new lending programs in response to Covid-19
On March 20, the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Bureau of Financial Institutions, issued a statement notifying Maine banks and credit unions that they may participate in two new lending program coordinated by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to provide assistance to borrowers affected by Covid-19. The Covid-19 Relief Consumer Loan Program will be administered by FAME in partnership with Maine financial institutions. FAME also has partnered with the United States Small Business Administration to offer different loan products to Maine-based businesses affected by Covid-19. Lenders are encouraged to evaluate the new programs as a way to assist Maine’s consumers and businesses.
Maine Bureau of Financial Institution issues guidance on working with customers affected by Covid-19 and regulatory assistance
On March 18, the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Bureau of Financial Institutions, issued a statement on financial institutions working with customers and communities affected by Covid-19. Financial institutions are encouraged to work with affected customers and communities including, among other things, by waiving certain fees (e.g., ATM, overdraft, late payment fees), increasing ATM daily cash withdrawal limits, easing restrictions on cashing out-of-state and non-customer checks, and easing terms for new loans to affected borrowers. Prudent efforts to modify the terms on existing loans for affected customers will not be subject to examiner criticism, and generally, the bureau supports and will not criticize efforts to accommodate customers in a safe and sound manner. The guidance also addresses: (i) financial condition review, supervisory response, and regulatory relief; (ii) regulatory reporting requirements; and (iii) closure of branch locations and offices and providing alternative service options.
On March 18, the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection provided interim guidance to MLOs, allowing employees to work from home as long as data security provisions are in place, and physical business records are stored only at the licensed main office. The guidance will be effective through May 1, 2020.
- Jonice Gray Tucker to moderate “Pandemic relief response and lasting impacts on access, credit, banking, and equality” at the American Bar Association Business Law Section Spring Meeting
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss "Post-pandemic CFPB exam preparation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Spring Conference & Expo
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Making fair lending work for you" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Spring Conference & Expo
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Reading the tea leaves of President Biden’s initial financial appointees" at LendIt Fintech
- Moorari K. Shah to discuss “CA, NY, federal licensing and disclosure” at the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association Legal Forum
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Compliance under Biden" at the WSJ Risk & Compliance Forum
- Sherry-Maria Safchuk to discuss UDAAP at an American Bar Association webinar
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “The future of fair lending” at the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference