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On November 1, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a report providing an update on its efforts to enhance the resilience of nonbank financial intermediation. According to FSB’s report, Enhancing the Resilience of Non-Bank Financial Intermediation, the non-bank financial intermediation (NBFI) sector has become more diverse and grown significantly to nearly half of global financial assets, compared to 42 percent in 2008. The report, among other things, provided an overview of the NBFI ecosystem and a framework for analyzing the availability of liquidity and the effective intermediation under stressed market conditions. The report noted that FSB’s “main focus of work to date” is intended “to assess and address vulnerabilities in specific areas that may have contributed to the build-up of liquidity imbalances and their amplification,” which includes, among other things: (i) enhancing money market fund resilience through policy work; (ii) assessing liquidity risk and its management in open-ended funds; (iii) examining the structure and drivers of liquidity during stress in government and corporate bond markets; (iv) examining “the frameworks and dynamics of margin calls in centrally cleared and non-centrally cleared derivatives and securities markets, and the liquidity management preparedness of market participants to meet margin calls”; and (v) assessing the fragilities in USD cross-border funding and their vulnerabilities in emerging market economies interactions. Based on these findings, the report noted that FSB’s future work will pursue a systemic approach to NBFI, which involves expanding the understanding of systemic risks in NBFI and ensuring that the current policy toolkit is adequate and effective from a system-wide perspective.
On June 10, the Texas Department of Banking issued Industry Notice 2021-03, which notifies supervised Texas state-charted banks that they “may provide customers with virtual currency custody services, as long as the bank has adequate protocols in place to effectively manage the risks and comply with applicable law.” The Department noted that Texas state-chartered banks have long provided customers with safekeeping and custody resources through secure storage of assets, which is a critical role in the banking business. “While custody and safekeeping of virtual currencies will necessarily differ from that associated with more traditional assets the [Department] believes that the authority to provide these services with respect to virtual currencies already exists pursuant to Texas Finance Code §32.001,” the notice provided. In addition, the type of virtual currency a bank chooses to utilize will depend on that bank’s expertise, risk appetite, and business model. The notice also pointed out that the Department determined that custody services may be offered by a Texas state-chartered bank in a capacity that is fiduciary or non-fiduciary. A non-fiduciary capacity will allow the bank to act “as a bailee, taking possession of the customer’s asset for safekeeping while legal title to that asset remains with the customer.” Alternatively, in its fiduciary capacity, the bank will have oversight to control virtual currency assets as it would any other type of asset held in such capacity. The notice warned, however, that if a bank is offering virtual currency services, bank management must conduct due diligence and carefully examine the risks involved in offering a new product or service through a methodical risk assessment process.
On February 22, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking would be partnering with the United Planning Organization to administer a free hotline to connect District residents who were financially harmed by Covid-19 with trained financial “navigators.” These navigators will offer advice and help connect residents to various programs and services to help manage income disruptions and other financial concerns, including foreclosure mediation.
The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance recently updated its March 12, 2020 guidance regarding temporary branch relocations (previously discussed here). The Department will continue to temporarily allow licensed and sponsored mortgage loan originators (MLOs), loan processors, underwriters, and other staff to work from an unlicensed branch upon notification by the sponsor, and approval by the department. Licensed mortgage bankers who have staff working from unlicensed locations must submit an updated list of those employees to the Department through the NMLS on, or before, March 1, June 1, September 1, and at renewal, in 2021. In addition, licensed MLOs must take certain data security measures and not allow customers to come to the unlicensed location. The guidance is effective January 1, 2021.
On August 21, the Connecticut Department of Banking issued a memorandum extending through December 31, 2020, its no-action position (previously discussed here and here) with respect to various licensees temporarily working from home during Covid-19, provided that certain criteria set forth in the memorandum are met.
On August 17, the Kansas governor issued Executive Order No. 20-61, which imposes restrictions on foreclosures and evictions. Banks and lending entities are prohibited from foreclosing on residential properties in Kansas where all defaults or violations of the mortgage are substantially caused by a financial hardship resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, subject to certain exemptions. Landlords are similarly prohibited from evicting a residential tenant when all defaults or violations of the rental agreement are substantially caused by a financial hardship resulting from the pandemic. Banks, financial lending entities, or landlords initiating judicial foreclosure or eviction proceedings after August 17, 2020, bear the burden of pleading and proving that the foreclosure or eviction is not solely based on defaults or violations resulting from financial hardships resulting from the pandemic. The order does not apply to foreclosures initiated by the U.S. government.
On June 20, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston updated FAQs for its Main Street Lending Program (see here, here and here for previous coverage). Among other things, new FAQs address the treatment of applicant debt to third party lenders for purposes of calculating outstanding and undrawn debt, certifications regarding conflicts of interest, and the application of regulatory lending limits imposed on national banks, federal savings associations, and state savings associations to loans issued under the Main Street Lending Program.
On June 12, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, Division of Banks, issued industry guidance regarding annual meetings for Massachusetts chartered credit unions. Massachusetts credit unions that have not yet held their annual membership meeting may postpone the annual meeting until the state of emergency is lifted, the order declaring the state of emergency has expired or is rescinded, or such time as the credit union believes it may safely hold the meeting. Alternatively, a credit union may remotely hold the annual meeting, or may conduct a hybrid meeting consisting of a combination of remote communication in conjunction with a limited in-person meeting. A credit union may also utilize mail voting with either options. Credit unions that exercise a virtual meeting option must comply with certain requirements in the guidance.
On June 12, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, Division of Banks, issued industry guidance regarding annual meetings for Massachusetts state-chartered mutual banks and subsidiary banks of a Massachusetts mutual holding company. Mutual institutions that have not yet held their annual meeting this year may use remote communications to conduct the annual meeting virtually or as a hybrid meeting that includes limited in-person attendance of depositors or corporators, provided certain requirements are met. Alternatively, such mutual institutions may postpone an in-person annual meeting until after the state of emergency has ended. Mutual institutions that elect to offer remote annual meetings must comply with certain requirements in the guidance.
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance extends no-action position regarding temporary work from home
On May 28, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance issued Bulletin No. 20-26 to certain licensees regarding temporarily working from home due to Covid-19. The bulletin extends the department’s no-action position regarding licensure for certain branch office locations due to individuals temporarily working from home first announced in Bulletin No 20-06 (covered here). The no-action position is only effective with a submission that includes specified materials and may be subject to pre-conditions and operating, reporting, and other requirements. Licensees who have already submitted materials to the department in response to Bulletin No. 20-06 are not required to resubmit those materials.