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Minnesota issues executive order suspending evictions and writs of recovery, requesting moratorium on foreclosures
On March 23, the Minnesota governor issued an executive order suspending evictions and writs of recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic. The order also requests that financial institutions holding home mortgages implement an immediate moratorium on all pending and future foreclosures and related evictions when the foreclosure or foreclosure-related eviction is caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Financial institutions are also strongly urged not to impose late fees or other penalties for late mortgage payments related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The executive order will remain in effect until the declared emergency is terminated or rescinded.
On March 23, the New Hampshire governor issued an emergency order temporarily authorizing secure remote online notarization, with certain specified conditions. If state law requires an individual to appear personally before or be in the physical presence of a notarial officer at the time of a notarization, this requirement is satisfied if the individual and the notarial officer can communicate simultaneously by sight and sound through an electronic device or process at the time of the notarization. The order provides additional guidance on the signature, mailing, official date and time, and validity and recognition of the notarization.
On March 22, the Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Courts issued an administrative order directing that, effective immediately and until further order, no papers will be accepted for filing by a county clerk or court in any matter not considered an “essential matter.” Essential matters include certain criminal matters, family court matters, Supreme Court matters, civil/housing matters, and any other matters the court deems essential. The list of essential proceedings is subject to ongoing review and amendment, as necessary.
On March 21, the New York governor issued an executive order stating that it is an “unsafe and unsound business practice” for banks to fail to “grant a forbearance to any person or business who has a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of 90 days.” The Order directs the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to promulgate emergency regulations to mandate that applications for forbearance be made widely available for consumers. Additionally, the order empowers the NYDFS to promulgate emergency regulations to direct that, solely for the period of the Covid-19 emergency, fees for the use of automated teller machines (ATMs), overdraft fees and credit card late fees, may be restricted or modified in accordance with the Superintendent’s regulation of licensed or regulated entities, “taking into account the financial impact on the New York consumer, the safety and soundness of the licensed or regulated entity, and any applicable federal requirements.”
On March 17, the New Hampshire governor issued an emergency order temporarily prohibiting evictions and foreclosures. All judicial and non-judicial foreclosure actions are prohibited during the declared State of Emergency, and all applicable provisions of any law, rule, or other regulation which would allow for the initiation of foreclosure proceedings are suspended for the same duration. However, the order does not relieve an individual of their obligations to pay rent, make mortgage payments, or any other obligation which an individual may have under a tenancy or mortgage.
Colorado issues guidance on business continuity, pandemic planning to credit unions, savings and loan institutions
On March 10, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Financial Services, issued guidance on business continuity and pandemic response to Colorado state-chartered credit unions and savings and loan institutions. The guidance reminds regulated financial institutions to review and revise, if necessary, the institutions’ business continuity and pandemic response plans, which could also include liquidity management, contingency funding, and emergency response plans.
On March 16, the Colorado State Bank Commissioner issued guidance requesting that financial institutions notify the Division of Banking of any issues they may experience involving continuing operations, any unusual account withdrawals, FDIC insurance questions, or any other banking matter. The guidance also requests email notification of any changes to the financial institutions’ banking hours. With respect to scheduled and upcoming examinations, the Division is prepared to “adjust planned supervisory activities as events dictate, and will conduct as much of the examination as possible offsite.”
On March 17, the Connecticut Department of Banking issued guidance to Connecticut state chartered banks and credit unions on Covid-19-related issues. The guidance encourages financial institutions to work with all borrowers whose ability to make loan repayments may be impacted by Covid-19. Such efforts may include easing credit terms for new loans, waiving overdraft fees, increasing the number of allowed money market withdrawals, waiving CD early withdrawal penalties, waiving late fees for loan balances, and offering payment accommodations. The guidance notes that any modifications to existing loans deemed prudent by financial institutions in light of the circumstances will not be subject to regulatory criticism. The guidance also requests that financial institutions inform their servicers and collection agencies regarding the servicers’ policies so that borrowers receive information about possible accommodations.
On March 18, the Connecticut Department of Banking issued guidance to residential mortgage servicers on Covid-19-related issues. The Department encourages mortgage servicers to work with all borrowers whose ability to make loan repayments may be impacted by Covid-19. Such efforts may include waiving late fees, offering forbearance plans or other deferment options, and having adequate staff available to proactively work with borrowers. Mortgage servicers should also inform their internal and external collection teams regarding the servicers’ policies so that borrowers receive information about possible accommodations. The guidance also notes that Connecticut is extending Small Business Express loans for 90 days, offering a 90-day grace period on making payments, and delaying payment of some business taxes for 60 to 90 days.
On March 20, the Connecticut Governor issued a stay at home order. The order requires non-essential businesses or not-for-profit entities to reduce their in-person workforces at any workplace locations by 100%. Essential businesses include banks, insurance companies, check cashing services, and other financial institutions. The order is effective from 8:00 PM on March 23, 2020, through April 22, 2020, unless earlier modified, extended, or terminated by the Governor. On March 22, the Connecticut Governor issued a subsequent executive order that clarifies the scope of the original home order. Additional guidance regarding business exemptions under the executive orders has also been released.
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