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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

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  • Wisconsin issues temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures

    State Issues

    On March 27, Wisconsin issued a temporary ban on foreclosures on real estate, on mortgagees requesting or scheduling a foreclosure sale, and on evictions for failure to pay rent.  The order will remain in effect for 60 days.

    State Issues Covid-19 Wisconsin Foreclosure

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  • Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Financial Institutions issues guidance regarding branch closures

    State Issues

    The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Financial Institutions issued guidance to assist financial institutions when making the decision to limit branch operations or to close a branch. The Division advised that temporary closures of banking office locations for 48 hours or less must be reported to the Division and closures lasting longer than 48 hours must receive advance permission.

    State Issues Covid-19 Ohio Bank Compliance

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  • New York governor issues executive order to continue temporary suspension and modification of laws relating to Covid-19

    State Issues

    On March 27, the New York governor issued Executive Order 202.11 continuing the temporary suspension and modification of certain laws, including the expiration date of certain licensing laws, through April 26. 

    State Issues Licensing New York Covid-19

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  • Colorado regulator issues appraisal guidance for banks and credit unions

    State Issues

    On March 27, Colorado’s Division of Banks and Division of Financial Services distributed a document consolidating Covid-19 related guidance regarding inspections and appraisals from the Appraisal Standards Board, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FDIC. Taken together, the agencies have issued guidance indicating that they will accept external-only or desktop inspections and appraisals in light of risks of conducting interior inspections during the Covid-19 outbreak.

    State Issues Colorado Appraisal State Regulators Covid-19

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  • Maryland banking regulator outlines expectation for working with borrowers

    State Issues

    On March 27, Maryland’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued an industry advisory with guidance regarding consumer credit for borrowers impacted by Covid-19. The guidance warns licensees against using the health crisis as an opportunity to increase fees or interest rates and instructs them to keep applicants and clients informed of disruptions or delays in credit decisions or changes to times and methods of communication. The advisory also “strongly urges” licensees to takes steps to mitigate the health crisis by, among other things: waiving late fees and online and telephone payment fees; foregoing credit reporting or reporting payment information in a manner that minimizes negative impact on credit histories; offering modification, forbearance or other options to allow borrowers to reduce or defer payments; ensuring that borrowers are able to timely make inquiries and manage their accounts; reaching out to borrowers proactively to provide information on available assistance; and ensuring that all borrower-facing staff are fully informed regarding available assistance and proactive in informing borrowers. Licensees are reminded to comply with applicable Maryland law, including all fair lending requirements, and to retain appropriate documentation to support decisions regarding mitigation offers.

    State Issues Covid-19 Maryland Licensing Consumer Finance

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  • California governor issues executive order halting enforcement of evictions

    State Issues

    On March 27, the California Governor issued an executive order halting the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by Covid-19 through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions. It also requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to Covid-19.

    State Issues Covid-19 California

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  • FDIC issues statement on Part 363 annual reports in response to Covid-19

    Federal Issues

    On March 27, the FDIC issued a Financial Institution Letter providing additional information and guidance to insured depository institutions (IDIs) subject to Part 363 of the FDIC regulations that have been affected by Covid-19. The FDIC will not take supervisory action against an IDI for submitting its Part 363 Annual Report or its written notification of late filing as long as the annual report or notification of late filing is submitted within 45 days of the 90- or 120-day report filing deadline. IDIs are encouraged to contact the FDIC in advance of the official filing date if the IDI anticipates delayed submission. This letter applies to all insured depository institutions with $500 million or more in total assets.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 FDIC

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  • Massachusetts attorney general issues emergency regulation prohibiting certain debt collection practices

    State Issues

    On March 27, the Massachusetts attorney general issued an emergency regulation that makes numerous standard debt collection actions an unfair and deceptive act or practice during the defined “state of emergency period.”  Specifically, the emergency regulation prohibits both creditors and debt collectors from: (i) initiating, filing, or threatening to file any collection lawsuit; (ii) initiating or threatening to initiate any legal or equitable remedy for garnishment, seizure, attachment or withholding of wages, earnings, property or funds; (iii) initiating or threatening to initiate repossession of a vehicle; (iv) applying for, causing to be served or enforced, or threatening to apply for or enforce any capias warrant; (v) visiting or threatening to visit the household or place of employment of any debtor; and (vi) confronting or communicating in public with any debt regarding collection. In addition, the regulation also prohibits debt collectors from initiating phone calls with debtors, unless necessary to discuss a rescheduled court appearance or at the request of the debtor. These prohibitions do not apply to debts secured by mortgage on real property or debt owed by a tenant to an owner. The regulation will remain in effect for the early of: (i) 30 days after the lifting of the declared state of emergency; or (ii) 90 days.

    State Issues Covid-19 Massachusetts State Attorney General Debt Collection

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  • FINRA provides guidance on Covid-19 impact on FINRA-administered exams

    Federal Issues

    In March, FINRA announced that Prometric is closing its centers in the United States and Canada for a period of 30 days, starting March 18, 2020. Candidates for taking FINRA-administered exams who have an existing appointment may reschedule their appointment to a future date without incurring a rescheduling fee. In addition, FINRA will extend all enrollment windows that are currently open and scheduled to expire by the end of May.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 FINRA

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  • North Carolina sets up “essential supplier” vetting process

    State Issues

    North Carolina Emergency Management announced that it created a process to vet businesses to determine whether they are essential suppliers that can continue operations if emergency closures are declared. To seek a determination, businesses should email beoc@ncdps.gov, providing: 1. business name; 2. contact information; 3. why it is critical that the business continue operations; 4. business website.

    State Issues Covid-19 North Carolina

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