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  • Illinois Authorizes the Electronic Delivery of Documents in Connection With Premium Finance Agreements

    State Issues

    On September 8, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law amendments to the state’s insurance code to authorize the electronic storage, presentment, and delivery of notices and other documents required in connection with premium finance agreements. Public Act 100-0495 provides that a premium finance company can electronically deliver notices and other documents if the receiving party has provided its consent and the premium finance company has made certain required disclosures. The amendments take effect January 1, 2018.

    State Issues State Legislation Electronic Records

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  • Delaware Governor Enacts Amendments to Computer Security Code

    State Issues

    On August 17, Delaware Governor John Carney signed into law amendments (House Substitute No. 1) to the state’s code regarding computer security breaches involving personal information. Among other changes, the amendments include the following: (i) any person who conducts business in Delaware and maintains personal information must implement and maintain safeguard procedures to protect personal information; (ii) the definition of a “breach of security”—defined as the “unauthorized acquisition of computerized data that compromises the security, confidentiality, or integrity of personal information”—eliminates “good faith acquisition” breaches where information is not used for unauthorized purposes, as well as instances where breached data is encrypted or protected by an unavailable encryption key; (iii) adds to the definition of “personal information” items such as passport numbers, email addresses and passwords, medical history information, health insurance and tax identification numbers, and biometric data; (iv) strengthens consumer protections, including requirements that notices to consumers must be sent no later than 60 days after it has been determined that a breach has occurred, a notification must be sent to the state Attorney General for breaches affecting more than 500 residents, and free credit monitoring services must be provided to residents involved in the breach of a social security number. The amendments become effective on April 14, 2018.

    State Issues State Legislation Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

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  • NYDFS Issues Reminder on Cybersecurity Regulation Compliance Effective August 28

    State Issues

    On August 28, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) issued an announcement reminding all NYDFS-regulated banks, insurance companies, and other financial services institutions that they must now begin complying with the state’s “first-in-nation cybersecurity regulation.” As previously covered in Infobytes, the regulation took effect March 1, 2017, but August 28 was the first compliance date. Covered entities are now required to implement the following: (i) a cybersecurity program designed to protect consumers’ private data; (ii) board/senior officer-approved written policy or policies; (iii) a designated Chief Information Security Officer to help protect an entity’s data and systems; and (iv) “controls and plans in place to help ensure the safety and soundness of New York’s financial services industry.” Furthermore, covered entities must begin reporting cybersecurity events through NYDFS’ online cybersecurity portal. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) Notices of exemption may be filed within “30 days of the determination that the covered entity is exempt,” and covered entities must file a certificate of compliance confirming compliance for the previous calendar year no later than February 15, 2018. NYDFS also released a series of frequently asked questions to provide assistance to institutions when complying with the regulation’s requirements.

    State Issues Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security NYDFS Compliance Bank Regulatory

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  • Massachusetts AG Takes Action Against Federal Loan Servicer for Unfair and Deceptive Practices

    State Issues

    On August 23, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a complaint in the Suffolk County Superior Court against the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (d/b/a FedLoan Servicing) for allegedly overcharging borrowers and improperly processing claims for public service loan forgiveness. According to the Commonwealth’s lawsuit, the loan servicer purportedly engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices by, among other things, (i) failing to timely and properly process applications for Income Driven Repayment plans and thereby denying borrowers the opportunity to make qualifying payments under forgiveness programs; (ii) failing to properly count qualifying payments under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program; (iii) failing to properly process certification forms in connection with the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant program, thereby causing grants to be converted into loans; and (iv) collecting amounts not legitimately due and owing and failing to refund them. The complaint seeks restitution, civil penalties, reimbursement of the Commonwealth’s costs and expenses, and injunctive relief.

    State Issues State AG Student Lending UDAAP

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  • Illinois Governor Enacts Amendments to Collection Agency Act

    State Issues

    On August 18, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner enacted amendments (HB 2783) to the state’s Collection Agency Act, which establishes provisions relating to licensing requirements. Among other things, the amended Act now (i) allows the Secretary of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department) to require licensing applications to participate in a multi-state licensing system and permits the licensing system to share regulatory information and charge administrative fees; (ii) removes the requirement to file an annual trust account financial report to the Department; (iv) provides that members of the Collection Agency Licensing and Disciplinary Board “shall have no liability in any action based upon any disciplinary proceeding or other activity performed in good faith as a member of the Board”; and (v) removes the provision requiring the Department to maintain rosters of all active licensees under the Act or persons whose licenses have been suspended, revoked, or denied renewal under the Act. The amended Act took effect upon being signed into law.

    State Issues State Legislation Debt Collection Licensing

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  • Oregon Enacts Law Regulating Residential Mortgage Loan Servicers

    State Issues

    On August 2, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Mortgage Loan Servicer Practices Act (SB 98), which places certain residential mortgage loan servicers under the supervision of the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) and requires them to comply with a range of requirements. Among other things, the law gives licensing, examination, investigation, and enforcement authority to the DCBS, and requires applicable residential mortgage loan servicers to: (i) obtain and renew a license through the DCBS if they “directly or indirectly service a residential mortgage loan” in Oregon; (ii) maintain “sufficient liquidity, operating reserves and tangible net worth”; (iii) notify the DCBS in writing before certain operational changes occur; and (iv) comply with a range of consumer protection, antifraud, and recordkeeping requirements, including those related to borrower communications, payment processing, and fee assessments. The law becomes operative on January 1, 2018, and applies “to service transactions for residential mortgage loans that occur on or after” that date.

    State Issues State Legislation Reverse Mortgages Lending Mortgage Servicing

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  • Massachusetts AG Directs Refunds to Homeowners Affected by Force-Placed Insurance Policies

    State Issues

    On August 11, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that “a major Massachusetts insurance company is paying more than $6.3 million in refunds to more than 4,500 homeowners who were improperly charged” for force-placed property insurance. According to the state’s investigation, the company unnecessarily charged some homeowners by force-placing duplicative insurance products, and overcharged others by force-placing commercial policies instead of less expensive residential policies. The company had settled with the AG’s Office in November 2015, paying $565,000 to the state and agreeing to an audit that would identify affected Massachusetts homeowners for refunds. According to the AG’s press release, the company “cooperated fully with the audit.”

    State Issues State AG Force-placed Insurance Settlement

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  • Money Transmitter Licensing Changes in New Hampshire and Washington for Virtual Currencies

    State Issues

    On August 1, New Hampshire HB 436 went into effect, “exempting persons using virtual currency from registering as money transmitters” under the state’s money transmitter licensing laws. The new exemption applies to persons who “engage in the business of selling or issuing payment instruments or stored value solely in the form of convertible virtual currency” or “receive convertible virtual currency for transmission to another location.” However, the exemption provides that such persons are “subject to” certain state consumer protection laws.

    Separately, Washington SB 5031 took effect on July 23, amending the state’s Uniform Money Services Act as it relates to money transmitters and currency exchanges. With respect to virtual currencies, the amendments, among other things: (i) define “virtual currency”; (ii) subject virtual currencies to the state’s money transmitter licensing laws (the definition of “money transmission” now includes virtual currency transmissions); (iii) require businesses that “store virtual currency on behalf of others” to provide the state with “a third-party security audit of all electronic information and data systems” when applying for a money transmitter license; (iv) require virtual currency licensees to “hold like-kind virtual currencies of the same volume . . . obligated to consumers”; and (v) require virtual currency licensees to provide certain disclosures “to any person seeking to use the licensee’s products or services,” including a schedule of fees and charges, and whether the product or services are insured.

    State Issues State Legislation Fintech Digital Commerce Virtual Currency Money Service / Money Transmitters

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  • Colorado UCCC Administrator Opinion Provides Guidance on Debt Cancellation and Suspension Agreement Fees

    State Issues

    On August 7, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, through the Administrator of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC), issued an Administrator Opinion to provide clarification on fees related to debt cancellation and suspension agreements. The UCCC has adopted and authorized rules permitting additional charges to be assessed in addition to a finance charge, such as fees for Single Premium Non-Credit Insurance, Involuntary Unemployment Insurance Premiums, and Guaranteed Automobile Protection. However, because the UCCC has not yet adopted by rule permissible fees for debt cancellation and suspension agreements, those fees must be included in the calculation of the finance charge, even if they are “permitted by federal or state law or regulation—including debt cancellation and suspension agreements offered by Colorado-[c]hartered [b]anks, Colorado-[c]harted [i]ndustrial [b]anks, and Colorado-[c]hartered [c]redit [u]nions.” This Administrator Opinion rescinds the November 9, 2004 Advisory Opinion titled “Debt Cancellation and Suspension Agreements Offered by Colorado-Chartered Banks, Colorado-Chartered Industrial Banks, and Colorado Chartered Credit Unions.” Organizations have 120 days to comply with the newly issued guidance.

    State Issues State AG Auto Finance Debt Cancellation UCCC

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  • Virginia AG Announces Settlement with Small Dollar Lender Over Excessive Fees

    State Issues

    On August 1, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced​ a settlement with a Virginia pawnbroker to resolve allegations that the company violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) by offering consumers small dollar loans in exchange for personal property—held as security for the loans—and then charging interest and fees beyond the limits allowed by the state’s statutes applicable to pawnbrokers. According to a press release issued by the Attorney General’s office, the settlement requires the company to provide refunds of more than $27,000 to borrowers and reimburse the state for expenses incurred during the investigation. A permanent injunction also prohibits the company from violating state pawnbroker statutes and the VCPA.

    State Issues State AG Lending Payday Lending

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