New York Provides Relief to Entities, Consumers & other Obligors Impacted by the Coronavirus in Connection with Banking and Financial Services Laws

22 March 2020 Coronavirus Resource Center Blog
Authors: Christopher A. DeGennaro Jamie N. Class

On March 12, 2020, the Superintendent of New York State’s Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) issued an Order granting persons and entities impacted by COVID-19 temporary relief from certain requirements under New York State Banking and Financial Services Laws and regulations.  As set forth in the Order, certain regulated entities in the financial services industry may:  

  1. temporarily relocate any of their authorized places of business and close any of their branch offices or locations, if adversely affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, without complying with prior notice or application requirements, subject to the requirements in the Order;

  2. submit a range of specified filings up to 45 days after the original due date if regulated entities and persons are unable to meet filing deadlines due to the outbreak of COVID-19.  (Note that this extension does not apply to notice of a cybersecurity event under 23 NYCRR 500.17(a) or submission of plans to address LIBOR cessation and transition risk); and

  3. utilize telephone, video-conferencing, or similar electronic means to satisfy the in-person participation requirement for meetings of an institution’s board of directors or trustees, or any subcommittee. 

Significantly, the Order advises that: (1) individuals working for regulated entities conducting licensable activities from their personal residences or other temporary locations shall remain subject to the full supervision and oversight of such entities; (2) regulated entities must maintain appropriate safeguards and controls to maintain safety and soundness, including in connection with data protection and cybersecurity; and (3) individuals working for regulated entities may not conduct licensable activities in person with members of the public at or from their personal residences. 

The Order will remain in effect until stayed, modified, suspended, or terminated by the Superintendent. 

Separately, on March 21, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.9, temporarily modifying the Banking Law and empowering the Superintendent of DFS to promulgate emergency regulations relating to the outbreak of COVID-19.  Specifically, the Order:

  1. modifies the Banking Law to the extent:

it shall be deemed an unsafe and unsound business practice if, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, any bank which is subject to the jurisdiction of the [DFS] shall not 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 ninety days. (Section 39 of the New York Banking Law.)

  1. directs the Superintendent of DFS to ensure that consumers facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic are provided with opportunities for forbearance of mortgage payments, and grants the Superintendent the authority to promulgate emergency regulations to that end; and

  2. grants the Superintendent of DFS the power to promulgate emergency regulations directing that ATM fees and credit card late fees be restricted or modified, 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. 

The Order specifies that its mandates and directive are effective through April 20, 2020.  Click here for coronavirus information, including guidance, from DFS for the banking and financial services industry and regulated entities. 

We are monitoring this very fluid situation in New York and will provide updates for the industry as they become available.  For more information, please contact your Foley relationship partner or the Foley colleagues listed below. For additional web-based resources available to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may wish to visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization

Foley has created a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional team to respond to COVID 19, which has prepared a wealth of topical client resources and is prepared to help our clients meet the legal and business challenges that the coronavirus outbreak is creating for stakeholders across a range of industries. Click here for Foley’s Coronavirus Resource Center to stay apprised of relevant developments, insights and resources to support your business during this challenging time. To receive this content directly in your inbox, click here and submit the form. 

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