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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Texas amends residential MLO application procedures

    On May 1, the Texas Finance Commission adopted amendments related to application procedures for regulated residential mortgage loan originators (MLO). The amendments are intended to reduce costs for residential MLOs and to ensure consistency with current licensing procedures and processes. Among other things, the amendments lower MLO application and annual renewal fees from $300 to $200, and implement statutory changes from HB 1342 (enacted last year) related to criminal background checks for residential MLOs. Specifically, the amendments (i) repeal a provision that allowed for the “denial, suspension, or revocation for any offense occurring in the five years preceding the application”; (ii) add provisions requiring an agency to consider the correlation between the element of a crime and a licensed occupation’s duties and responsibilities; and (iii) remove language related to letters of recommendation provided on behalf of an MLO applicant. The amendments are effective as of May 7.

    Licensing State Issues State Regulator MLO Texas

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  • NYDFS strongly opposes OCC’s proposed CRA rulemaking

    State Issues

    On April 8, NYDFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell sent a letter to OCC Comptroller Joseph Otting expressing her “strong opposition” to the OCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) issued last December to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). (See Buckley Special Alert discussing the NPR). Lacewell urged the OCC to revise substantially or abandon the NPR, referring to the Department’s “extensive experience with the CRA” through its oversight of state-chartered banks’ compliance with the New York Community Reinvestment Act, which, according to Lacewell “largely mirrors the current federal CRA.”

    Lacewell addressed several concerns, including that the NPR’s proposed evaluation framework would “reduce CRA evaluations to a single, dollar value comparison of banks’ CRA-qualifying activities to deposits.” This single-metric CRA ratio, Lacewell, stated, would eliminate important qualitative aspects of CRA evaluations and “incentivize banks to focus on large-dollar CRA activities to the detriment of complex and innovative small-dollar projects.” Lacewell also expressed concerns with deposit data limitations, and cited the OCC’s separate request for bank-specific data (covered by InfoBytes here) as an indicator that the data to be relied upon for the CRA ratio may be questionable. Lacewell also asserted that the NPR detrimentally redefines CRA-qualifying activities that may not positively impact low- and moderate-income communities, and fails to evaluate properly assessment area changes. Furthermore, Lacewell argued that the NPR reduces the importance of bank branches in CRA evaluations, and imposes new burdens that disproportionately impact intermediate-small banks.

    Lacewell expressed support for an alternative approach suggested by Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard in January (covered by InfoBytes here), whose proposal would include, among other things, a set of thresholds calibrated for local conditions and two tests—a retail test and a community development test—that would tailor performance metrics for banks of different sizes and business models.

    State Issues State Regulator NYDFS CRA OCC Federal Reserve

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  • California DBO sues student loan servicer to compel production of borrower records

    State Issues

    On April 2, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) announced a lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers seeking an order requiring the production of documents related to the servicer’s administration of the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant program. According to the press release, DBO began an examination in January under the California Student Loan Servicing Act (Act) to determine whether the licensed servicer is improperly converting California teachers’ TEACH grants into loans with back interest. In its complaint, DBO states that the servicer’s refusal to produce records concerning its “handling of the TEACH program reconsideration process” is based on arguments that California law is preempted by the federal Higher Education Act, and that student borrower records are “legally owned” by the Department of Education and cannot be released under the federal Privacy Act of 1974. Because of the servicer’s refusal to produce the records, DBO claims that the servicer “has failed to satisfy its statutory duties,” and has “unduly restrained” DBO’s ability to both oversee the administration of student loan servicing in the state and protect California student loan borrowers. DBO seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction, as well as a declaratory judgment against the servicer to compel compliance with the Act.

    State Issues State Regulator CDBO Student Loan Servicer Student Lending

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  • Louisiana regulator provides guidance on business continuity plans

    State Issues

    On April 1, the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions issued a bulletin urging financial institutions to review their disaster recovery/business continuity plans and update them as needed to ensure that all interdependent operations are considered. The guidance includes a list of considerations, including, among other things: supplying staff with protective equipment and training; updated contact information for third party services and consideration of third party services that might become impaired in an incident; contingency communication process; remote work possibilities; identification of critical operations, including as examples, core processing systems, ATM processing and replenishment, online banking systems, payment processing, and wire processing; cross-training for continuity; and liquidity and cash considerations.

    State Issues Business Continuity ATM Online Banking Payment Processors Covid-19 Louisiana State Regulator

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  • Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issues notice to consumer credit licensees

    State Issues

    On March 30, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department) issued a notice to consumer credit licensees stating that it appreciates advance notice of any changes to the licensee’s usual business practices. Licensees are expected to “act responsively and proactively to address any consumer harm that may arise,” including through waiving defaults where a consumer is unable to make a payment as a result of the licensee’s business practices. New credit transactions originated during Covid-19 will be evaluated as part of the next examination cycle.

    State Issues Illinois State Regulator Consumer Finance Licensing Covid-19

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  • Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issues guidance to credit unions

    State Issues

    On March 30, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department) issued a notice to credit unions providing that credit unions may submit a request to postpone the credit union’s 2020 annual meeting to the Department’s Credit Union Section. In addition, the guidance requires credit unions to submit a waiver request to hold annual membership meetings in a month other than January, February, and March.

    State Issues Illinois State Regulator Credit Union Covid-19

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  • Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issues questions and answers to credit unions regarding Covid-19

    State Issues

    On March 30, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department) issued questions and answers to credit unions related to Covid-19 safety concerns. The guidance provides responses to questions regarding, among other things, receiving extensions for annual meetings, holding annual meetings by teleconference or other communications equipment, whether prior approval from the Department is required to close branches or lobbies, and whether the Department needs to approve any concessions, such as payroll interruption loans, extension, or deferments.

    State Issues State Regulator Illinois Credit Union Covid-19

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  • Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issues notice to currency exchange and money transmitter licensees

    State Issues

    On March 30, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department) issued a notice encouraging currency exchange and money transmitter licensees to provide the Department with advance notice of any changes to their usual business practices. The Department expects all licensees to act responsibly and proactively to address any consumer harm that may arise.

    State Issues Illinois State Regulator Money Service / Money Transmitters Licensing Covid-19

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  • Minnesota Commerce Department offers relief to franchise registrants

    State Issues

    On March 30, pursuant to a Commissioner Order issued on the same day, the Minnesota Commerce Department issued Regulatory Guidance 20-10 to franchise registrants. The guidance extends the deadline for franchisors to file annual reports that were due by April 30, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 80C.08, subd. 1, to June 30. Franchisors are encouraged to submit annual reports through the department’s online e-File system.

    State Issues Minnesota Covid-19 State Regulator

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  • NMLS updates temporary policy for reporting deadlines

    On March 30, the NMLS Policy Committee amended its temporary policy for submitting reports in NMLS. Instead of the original 60-day deadline extension, the committee encourages regulators to be lenient and not take administrative action if reports are filed within 30 days of the placement of the license item (based on the standard due date). This appears to provide greater flexibility to agencies utilizing NMLS to deviate from the initial extended deadline.

    Click here to read the full update.

    Licensing State Issues State Regulator NMLS Covid-19

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