Like most industries today, consumer finance service companies are significantly affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Troutman Pepper has developed a COVID-19 Resource Center to guide clients through this unprecedented global health challenge. We regularly update this site with COVID-19 news and developments, recommendations from leading healthcare organizations, and tools businesses can use for free.
Our banking and loan clients are also facing new challenges affecting their industry as a result of COVID-19, particularly the ever-changing rules and regulations regarding evictions and foreclosures. We are following these updates closely and have assembled an interactive tracking tool with state orders and guidance material regarding residential lockdowns and eviction moratoria. You can access this interactive tool at https://covid19.trutman.com/.
To help you stay on top of relevant activities, below is a breakdown of some of the biggest COVID-19-related events at the federal and state levels that have impacted the consumer finance services industry. last week :
Privacy and cybersecurity activities
- On May 28, the Federal Reserve Board asked the public for comment on proposed changes to its Payment System Risk (PSR) policy that governs the granting of intraday credits, or daytime overdrafts, to sound deposit-taking institutions with accounts in Federal Reserve banks. The proposal would modify the PSR policy to expand access to secured capacity and clarify the conditions for accessing and retaining unsecured capacity. Comments on the proposed changes are requested within 60 days of posting in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly. For more information, click here.
- On May 28, Richard Cordray, director of Federal Student Aid operations at the US Department of Education, announced that the department would reverse a policy put in place under the Trump administration that prevented state and federal regulators from accessing documents needed to investigate. student loan lenders, service agents and private collection agencies. For more information, click here.
- On May 27, US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced a bill to increase penalties for violating consumer protection law by telephone, including jail time for those who willfully or knowingly break the law, while increasing the penalty for those who tamper with their caller ID information. For more information, click here.
- On May 27, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report that provides new information on the financing of prefabricated housing. The report says that low acquisition costs are often accompanied by higher interest rates and limited refinancing options. Consumers who don’t own the underlying land are more likely to see their homes depreciate and have less protection if they fall behind on their payments. These factors combined can make this affordable housing a potentially risky avenue for homeownership. The CFPB report uses new information gathered under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act to shed light on the experiences of these often overlooked families. For more information, click here.
- On May 27, the U.S. Treasury released guidance on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund for Non-Entitlement Units (NEU) of Local Government, which outlines the steps states should take to allocate funds to NEUs. The NEU are non-metropolitan cities. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allocated $ 19.53 billion to the states to pay out to the NEUs. For more information, click here.
- On May 26, the US Treasury, Internal Revenue Service and Bureau of the Fiscal Service announced that they had made more than 1.8 million additional economic impact payments as part of the US bailout. For more information, click here.
- On May 25, US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced he was prioritizing legislation that would set a national cap on the amount lenders can charge in interest. For more information, click here.
- On May 24, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors announced it was seeking public comment on proposed nationwide licensing requirements for money services businesses (MSBs). The proposed structure is based on a unique set of nationwide requirements reviewed by a lead state agency. Any other state-specific requirements would be limited to items not covered by national standards. Public comments will be accepted until July 23. For more information, click here.
- On May 24, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that farmers would begin receiving letters alerting them to a new debt relief program. The loan cancellation could total $ 4 billion, as the government intends to withdraw bank loans given to minority farmers with loan guarantees from the USDA. For more information, click here.
- On May 28, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed Executive Decree 21-15, to adjust and lift other requirements from June 1, including: removing the indoor mask mandate from state facilities; continue face coverage requirements in Indiana schools until June 30; and, waiving penalties or interest accrued on state income taxes on unemployment wages. For more information, click here.
- On May 26, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released Executive Decree No. 243, which rescinds the requirement that businesses and nonprofits accommodate telecommuting arrangements for their workforce as much as possible and reduce their on-site staff to the minimum number necessary for their operations. Employers returning employees to the physical workplace should continue to notify them of the on-site exposure and perform health examinations of employees entering the job site. The ordinance further allows employers in indoor construction sites closed to the public to allow employees who can verify that they are vaccinated the option to forgo the wearing of a mask and social distancing. For more information, click here.
- On May 7, the Montana House of Representatives passed a bill prohibiting discrimination based on immunization status. The new law prohibits employers from refusing to employ a person or discriminating against a person in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on the person’s immunization status or whether the person has an immunity passport. . For more information, click here.
- On April 30, a new law passed by Baltimore City County came into effect requiring all residential leases to include a provision that late fees cannot be imposed until the tenant is overdue for more. of 10 days. For more information, click here.
Privacy and cybersecurity activities:
- On May 28, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned consumers that con artists are taking advantage of “confusion over vaccine verification methods.” While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued vaccination cards, “they were never designed to prove  vaccination status and they may not be enough. Governments, businesses and other organizations can develop their products and services. The FTC reminds consumers to:
- Be skeptical of anyone who contacts them from within the federal government, as there is no official plan to create a national vaccine verification app or passport certificate;
- Check with airlines, cruise lines and event venues for their requirements before sharing personal information with strangers;
- Contact the state government about vaccine verification plans and requirements; and
- Do not share information with anyone, including with connections via social networks.
For those interested in learning more about vaccination certificates and the potential implications of using them while traveling, check out Troutman Pepper’s Law360 article by clicking here. To read the full FTC warning, click here.
- On May 27, CNBC reported that researchers were finding companies were turning to computer systems to monitor employee performance, “accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Cyber security experts share that technology can have the benefit of protecting workers when they work from home; However, workers say they feel “uncomfortable with camera surveillance or strike surveillance”. For those who want to know more, click on here.
- On May 22, Utah, Hawaii and New Jersey were reported to have the “highest number of ad trackers and cookies compared to other states” on their COVID-19 websites. Additionally, the tracking technology was connected to several large tech companies, primarily those related to social media. As a result, people visiting vaccination portals in these states may end up sharing their internet browsing habits, allowing businesses to use the information collected to target for purposes unrelated to COVID-19. To learn more about the report, click here.