- State Updates: Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New York City
- Virtual Silent Auction
- Federal Stimulus Funds Guidance
- RMAI COVID-19 Resources
State Updates – Extensions for Debt Collection Limitations, Temporary Remote Workers and License Expiration/Renewal
Colorado Senate Bill Extends Limitations on Debt Collection Actions to June 1, 2021
Colorado Senate Bill 21-002 was signed by Governor Jared Polis on January 21, 2021 and extends Chapter 140 of the Laws of 2020 for an additional four months and will sunset on June 1, 2021. Chapter 140 prohibited any new “extraordinary debt collection actions” from the effective date of the bill until February 1, 2021 if the consumer informs the creditor that they have experienced a COVID-19 hardship. An extraordinary collection action is defined as an action in the nature of a garnishment, attachment, levy, or execution to collect or enforce a judgment on a debt as defined under the “Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” (FDCPA). The creditor is required to provide consumers a written notice informing them of their right to claim a COVID-19 hardship. The law also extends the automatic exemption from levy and sale under writ of attachment or writ of execution through June 1, 2021, of up to $4,000 in a depository account or accounts in the name of the debtor.
Connecticut No-Action Letter on Temporary Remote Workers in Effect Through March 31, 2021
On December 17, 2020, pursuant to Section 36a-1-8 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, the Connecticut Department of Banking (Department) extended its no-action memo to address branch licensing issues, this time through March 31, 2020. The Department’s no-action position concerns the requirement that any Connecticut licensable activity by a Consumer Credit Licensee be conducted from a licensed branch office location.
The reason cited for the no-action order is to make clear the Department will not act against a licensee, such as a collection agency, for failing to license a branch office if the reason for the “branch” is to accommodate employees who wish to temporarily work from home.
So, what does this mean? The no-action Order is not without limitations. It only applies if these criteria are met:
- The Connecticut licensable activity is conducted from the home location of an individual working on behalf of a Connecticut Consumer Credit Licensee;
- The individual is working from home due to a reason relating to the COVID-19 outbreak and has informed the Connecticut Consumer Credit Licensee of such reason in writing;
- The individual maintains all necessary licenses under Title 36a to conduct such Connecticut licensable activity;
- None of the Connecticut licensable activity will be conducted in person with members of the public from the home location; and
- The Connecticut Consumer Credit Licensee shall at all times exercise reasonable supervision of the Connecticut licensable activity being performed at the home office and ensure that appropriate safeguards and controls are established concerning consumer information and data security.
For more information see, the Department’s website.
Maryland Emergency Regulations Permitting Remote Workers
Like Connecticut, the State of Maryland has declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and like Connecticut, the State of Maryland has suspended enforcement of its branch office licensing requirements for six months during the State of Emergency. On January 22, 2021, the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation promulgated, under emergency status, new Regulation .08 under COMAR 09.03.02 – General Regulations pertaining to certain licensees regulated by the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation (OCFR).
The regulation will immediately permit remote work for employees working at certain locations if the remote work arrangement complies with certain standards and conditions. For example, to qualify for the exemption, locations of remote workers cannot receive mail or physical payments; remote locations must be monitored to ensure compliance with security requirements; and remote locations must adhere to the company’s data breach policy.
What is remarkable about Maryland’s temporary suspension of state licensing requirements for branch offices is the fact the requirements of the extension have a two-fold purpose. In addition to alleviating the pressures on employees and licensees during the state of emergency, the Commissioner is also seeking public comment on making the branch office exemption a permanent option for certain licensees.
So, what does this mean? As the emergency status is valid for only six months, the Commissioner will be seeking public comments during this limited time. This means when the comment period opens, members who collect in Maryland or who support the elimination of branch licensing requirements for remote workers generally, should submit their comments to the Commissioner. Comments do matter to regulators and your voice can make a difference. Additionally, once one state takes steps to advance the industry, other states typically follow.
New York City License Extensions and Renewals – Collection Agencies
License Extensions: A COVID-19 Relief Package, signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, extends the license expiration dates and renewal application deadlines covered by Emergency Executive Orders (EEO) 107 and 110. In general, the extension applies to licenses with expiration dates ON OR AFTER March 12, 2020, when the Mayor first declared a state of emergency. The expiration date of a collection agency license is identified in a field on the license identified as “Expires.”
Certain business licenses are excluded from the extension such as process servers and process server agencies. The license expiration date for these industries was February 28, 2020.
New License Expiration Date and Renewal Application Deadline
Once New York City issues a new Mayoral EEO with guidance for renewing a business license, the new license expiration date will be 45 days from the date of the Mayoral EEO excluding industries excepted from the extension such as process servers and process server agencies. The new renewal application deadline for industries protected by the extension of the renewal order (e.g., collection agencies) will then be 104 days from the date of the date EEO 110 expires and 59 days from the date of the new Mayoral EEO for process servers and process server agencies.
So, what does this mean? RMAI will continue to monitor this issue for members. Members who are licensed in New York City are well advised to link their account to receive updates from the city regarding changes to license expiration and renewal requirements. Approximately three months before your license expires, the Department of Consumer Affairs will mail a license renewal package. View list NYC Consumer Affairs licenses and their expiration dates. You must renew your license before it expires in order to continue operating your business and avoid fines. For more information please click here and here.
RMAI’s 2021 Virtual Silent Auction
Bidding is open for the Virtual Silent Auction supporting the Legislative Fund. Learn more and join the bidding!
Federal Stimulus Funds Guidance
RMAI reminds members to avoid seeking federal stimulus funds as a potential source of payment on outstanding consumer obligations. Specifically, to the degree the federal stimulus funds are ascertainable, RMAI asks members to avoid soliciting those funds or otherwise attaching those funds for the purposes of satisfying a debt or money judgment. If a consumer wishes to use these funds for the payment of an obligation, that is acceptable, but should not be solicited.
RMAI COVID-19 Resources
Visit the RMAI COVID-19 resource page on the RMAI website to access other legislative and regulatory guidance and relevant information, RMAI Member Alerts, COVID-19 recorded webinars, and more.
This alert is intended for members of the Receivables Management Association International and is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to provide legal advice. Members are encouraged to consult with an attorney of their choice for legal advice concerning this matter.