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District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking issues bulletin to certain insurance companies
On April 23, the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking issued a bulletin to insurers, captives, and risk retention groups regarding modified regulatory filing requirements during the public health emergency. While companies are still required to make all required electronic filings with the NAIC based on modified filing deadlines, if applicable, the department will allow insurers an additional 30 to 60 days, depending on the filing, to complete filings upon a request to the department on or before the normal deadline. The bulletin sets forth the filings eligible for 30- or 60-day extensions. The bulletin also provides guidance regarding electronic filings and signatures. Further, while the department will not conduct any on-site examination work during the stay-at-home order, the department may still request certain electronic records to track trends arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
On April 8, the Oklahoma governor issued an executive order closing all businesses that are not within a critical infrastructure or considered “essential” as defined by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The Oklahoma Essential Industries List includes financial services institutions and their workers. The order is effective until May 8.
On April 8, the Texas Department of Banking, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and the Texas Bankers Association issued a joint notice warning that cybercriminals and nation state actors use times of crisis to exploit financial institutions. The notice urged institutions to warn employees and customers of social engineering, remind them of when online/virtual meeting platform links are expected and legitimate, and inform them of scams that are preying on Covid-19 fears. The notice also suggested institutions redistribute IT policies to employees and remind them about security expectations, and maintain secure connections for remote workers.
On April 8, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, Securities Division, announced that it would reduce filing fees for franchisors who are unable to timely submit audited financial statements in their year-end disclosure documents due to Covid-19. Fees for the registration of a franchisor that has not included audited financial statements for the most recent year in their required year end franchise disclosure documents are reduced from $600 to $100 in recognition that Covid-19 may impact the ability to obtain or finalize audited financial statements.
Maryland issues executive order suspending repossessions, foreclosures, and evictions, and providing relief to commercial banks and credit unions
On April 3, the Maryland governor issued an executive order prohibiting repossessions of an automobile, truck, or chattel home by a creditor, suspending the initiation of residential foreclosures, and prohibiting residential and commercial evictions. The order also allows the Commissioner of Financial Regulation to, upon the request of a state-chartered or credit union, suspend provisions of the Maryland Code to allow such institutions to exceed statutory lending limits if the commissioner determines that doing so would not reasonably be expected to impair the safety or soundness of the institution.
The State of Texas Joint Financial Regulatory Agencies issued guidance pertaining to HELOCs as part of the state’s broader Covid-19 emergency measures pursuant to the governor’s declaration of a state of disaster for Texas on March 13. The agencies’ statement anticipates that lenders may adjust or extend terms on HELOCs and offer new loans during the crisis period, but also clarified that all such modifications and newly-issued loans must comply with Article XVI, Section 50 of the Texas Constitution. The guidance confirmed that modifications that lower the interest rate or amount of installment payments, but that do not satisfy or replace the original note, advance new funds, or increase obligations created by the original note, would not be a new extension of credit under Section 50(a)(6) of the constitution. The State of Texas Joint Financial Regulatory Agencies is comprised of the Texas Department of Banking, Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending, Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, and Texas Credit Union Department.
Montana Department of Administration provides relief to banks and credit unions regarding annual meetings
On April 2, the Montana Department of Administration adopted a temporary emergency rule regarding annual meetings held by banks and credit unions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The rule permits a bank or credit union to hold its annual meeting in the form of a virtual meeting during the Covid-19 pandemic. Such virtual meeting must be live, allow electronic or telephonic participation in the meeting in real-time, and provide simultaneous audio transmission of the meeting.
On April 1, the Texas Department of Banking issued a notice to trust companies announcing a 31-day extension for (1) public trust companies to report on Condition and Income and (2) exempt family trusts to report Annual Report of Condition and Income and Certification of Exempt Status. The announcement also authorized the use of electronic signatures on both filings mentioned.
On March 30, Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox issued a bulletin clarifying that certain financial services are considered essential businesses and operations. The following financial businesses are deemed essential: (i) banks, credit unions, and consumer finance providers, such as mortgage companies, consumer installment lenders, payday lenders, etc.; (ii) bond issuers; and (iii) title companies, inspectors, appraisers, surveyors, registers of deeds, and notaries. The bulletin clarified the scope of an executive order signed by Governor Whitmer on March 23, which in part, called for residents to stay in their homes and limited in-person exceptions to essential activities (previously discussed here).
On March 30, the Texas Department of Banking issued considerations for business continuity planning. In it, the Department asked banks and financial institutions to consider enterprise-wide interdependencies, as well as critical business functions like core processing, physical and digital cash deposits and withdrawals, and payment transactions. The issuance also included employee- and security-focused considerations such as secure remote access to systems, testing of remote capabilities, cross-training employees, and alternative staffing for physical branch operations. The considerations were drafted in coordination with the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and the Texas Bankers Association.
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Be Your Compliance Best in 2022” at the California Mortgage Bankers Association webinar
- Lauren R. Randell to discuss “Significant legal developments in the Northeast” at the 37th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Small business & regulation: How fair lending has evolved & where it is heading?” at the Consumer Bankers Association Live program
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss “Regulators always ring twice: Responding to a government request” at ALM Legalweek
- Jonice Gray Tucker and Kari Hall to discuss “Equity, equality, regulation and enforcement – The evolving regulatory landscape of fair lending, redlining, and UDAAP” at the ABA Business Law Committee Hybrid Spring Meeting