State and federal legislative and regulatory updates credit unions need to know about

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By Kendra Rubin, Vice President of Government Affairs

Legislative activity surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to occur at a fast pace on both the state and federal levels. Below is a brief overview of important updates New York’s credit unions should be aware of.

State level
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.13 Monday night, which covers a variety of topics, including a new directive to allow verification and acknowledgment “by including standard verification or acknowledgement language in the instrument and transmitting a legible copy of the signed instrument by fax or electronic means.”

The Executive Order also modifies Section 576 of the Banking Law, granting the superintendent of the Department of Financial Services the authority to promulgate an emergency regulation “to apply the provisions of the Executive Order relevant to policy cancellations, to premium finance agencies (as defined in Article XII-B of the Banking Law), subject to the safety and soundness considerations of the premium finance agencies.”

Federal level
Regarding the CARES Act, we understand there are a lot of questions within the Paycheck Protection Program, the new SBA 7(a) loan program. The Small Business Administration was due to release guidance on applications and eligibility Monday, however, as of this writing, nothing has been released. Our understanding is these loans will not count against the MBL cap.

NCUA is conducting offsite examinations through at least May 1, 2020, according to an NCUA letter sent to all federally insured credit unions. The letter outlines NCUA’s approach to its examination and supervision program for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on three priorities: credit unions experiencing problems, contacting credit unions and conducting examinations offsite.

The letter can be accessed on NCUA’s website.

NCUA also released additional credit union guidance last week, joining with other federal and state regulators to encourage financial institutions to support borrowers impacted by the coronavirus, specifically troubled debt restructurings. The guidance is available on NCUA’s website.

The CFPB announced reporting relief for HMDA, indicating that is will provide flexibility to enable financial companies to work with customers in need as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau is postponing some data collections from industry on bureau-related rules to allow companies to focus on responding to consumers in need and making changes to its supervisory activities to account for operational challenges at regulated entities. More information can be accessed on CFPB’s website.

Finally, existing SBA disaster loans will be automatically deferred. “Relaxed criteria will have two immediate impacts, according to the SBA:

  • faster, easier qualification process for states seeking SBA disaster assistance and
  • expanded, statewide access to SBA disaster assistance loans for small businesses.

More information is available on SBA’s website.

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