Like most industries today, Consumer Finance Services businesses are being significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Troutman Pepper has developed a dedicated 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 health organizations, and tools that businesses can use free of charge.

To help you keep abreast of relevant activities, below is a breakdown of some of the biggest COVID-19 driven events at the Federal and State levels to impact the Consumer Finance Services industry this past week:

Federal Activities

State Activities

Privacy and Cybersecurity Activities

Federal Activities:

  • On September 1, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a temporary, nationwide ban on evictions through December 31, 2020. Under the rules of the order, renters have to sign a declaration asserting that they do not make more than $99,000 a year, or twice that if filing a joint tax return, and that they have no other option if evicted other than homelessness or living with more people in close proximity. For more information, click here

  • On September 1, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report examining the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer credit. The report found that consumers have not experienced significant increases in delinquency or other negative credit outcomes, as reported in credit record data following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. This is in spite of the sharp increases in unemployment resulting from the pandemic. The report focused on mortgage, student loans, auto loans, and credit card accounts from March 2020 to June 2020, and it notes that outcomes may reflect payment assistance provided to American consumers through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For more information, click here.

  • On September 1, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Farm Credit Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency extended the comment period on a proposal to revise the "Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance" until November 3, 2020.The agencies are extending the comment period because of the extent of the revisions proposed by the agencies and in light of the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, click here.

  • On September 1, 2020, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared before the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Secretary Mnuchin spoke about the effect of the CARES Act on economic recovery. For more information, click here.

  • On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System released preliminary data from an annual survey of U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities at year-end 2019. For more information, click here.

State Activities:

  • On September 15, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance applications for student loan servicing licenses will be available online. The department issued a bulletin on the new license applications, which are required by the New Jersey "Student Loan Bill of Rights" that took effect in November 2019. This Student Loan Bill of Rights imposes various regulatory obligations on student loan servicers, including entities that are exempt from the licensure requirement and provides the department with the appropriate investigative, examination, and enforcement authority to implement the regulatory framework. For more information, click here.

  • On September 5, 2020, the Nevada Collectors Association, along with other organizations, requested that the Nevada Financial Institutions Division consider reinstating a work-from-home exemption to protect workers in the accounts receivable management industry and their families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In June, the Division allowed licensed collection agencies to resume business as long as they remain in compliance with other emergency directives issued by Governor Steve Sisolak. For more information, click here.

  • On September 3, 2020, Louisiana Public Service Commission corrected a prior statement that collection calls on existing debts could continue even though Louisiana remains in a state of emergency due to Tropical Storms/Hurricanes Laura and Marco until September 20, 2020. The Commission initially posted an incorrect statement on its website regarding the state of emergency. The correction to the prior statement was posted on the Commission’s website on September 3, 2020 and it clarifies that the prohibition does in fact include debt collection calls. For more information, click here.

Privacy and Cybersecurity Activities:

  • On September 3, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provided guidance to consumers on how they can spot a tech support scam. As many parents continue to work from home, and with the start of online class lectures for children, devices are being increasingly used by family members for varying purposes. Scammers trick consumers by "pretending to be from a real company" and offering tech support services. Scammers tend to reach out to consumers asking for computer access or financial information. The FTC reminds consumers:

    • Never share your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number with anyone who contacts you.

    • Somebody who tells you to pay with a gift card, money transfer, or Bitcoin is a scammer. Always.For additional guidance from the FTC, click here.

  • On September 2, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the Election Risk Profile Tool. CISA created the tool to assist election officials and federal agencies in managing cyber election risks. Due to COVID-19, many voters will depend on news ways of submitting their votes, and the tool is "designed to help state and local election officials understand the range of risks they face and how to prioritize mitigation efforts." To read the full announcement, click here.

  • On September 1, 2020, CNET reported that researchers from the International Digital Accountability Council performed a study showing privacy issues with educational applications. Many applications analyzed in the study were found to share a range of personal information, such as "name, email address, location data and device ID" to third parties. To read the full report, click here.

  • On September 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights updated its resources for mobile health application developers. HHS hopes these resources will help developers meet their privacy and security requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HHS offers several pieces of guidance, including:

To view the resources page on the HHS website, click here.

  • In late August 2020, it was reported that Flint Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, will be the first to use "smart helmets" to assist in the fight against COVID-19. The helmets will initially be used to read "people's temperatures using thermal imaging[.]" The airport is still developing policies and procedures to implement their use. To read the full report, click here.

  • Last week, it was reported that the New York Times would host a "TimesTalks" discussion regarding "The New Prognosis for High-Tech Health Care." U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Technology and Regulatory Reporter Cecilia Kang will discuss ways in which health care could be delivered remotely during the pandemic and beyond, "while protecting privacy and increasing access" to those who need it most. The event is scheduled for Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 2:30 PM EST. For additional information or registration instructions, click here.