NYS DFS Releases Emergency COVID-19 Regulation on Mortgage Forbearances and Financial Fee Waivers 

March 26, 2020

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued an emergency regulation on March 24, 2020, pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.9. The regulation requires New York state-regulated financial institutions to provide mortgage forbearance for residential properties located in New York for 90 days and to eliminate ATM fees, overdraft fees, and credit card late payment fees for any individual who can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All compliance with the regulation are subject to safety and soundness requirements of regulated banking organizations, as amended by the governor’s executive order.

Who Must Comply?

Under the emergency regulations, “regulated financial institutions” are defined as “any New York regulated banking organization as defined under New York Banking Law and any New York regulated mortgage servicer entity subject to the authority of the Department.”

Mortgage Forbearances

NYS regulated financial institutions must provide applications for forbearance of any payment due on a residential mortgage on a property within New York that is “widely available” to any individual residing in New York and who demonstrates financial hardship due to COVID-19 for 90 days. The regulation does not apply to any commercial mortgage or any other loan.

Financial Fees

NYS regulated financial institutions must provide the following financial relief to any individual who can demonstrate financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Eliminating fees charged for use of ATM machines that are owned or operated by regulated banking organizations
  2. Eliminating any overdraft fees
  3. Eliminating any credit card late payment fees

Institutions are not limited to these types of relief and are encouraged to take additional reasonable and prudent actions to assist individuals demonstrating hardship as deemed appropriate and consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

Applications, Determinations, and Complaints

All regulated financial institutions shall establish and communicate relief application processes as soon as reasonably practicable and no later than 10 business days from the promulgation of the rule (April 7, 2020). The criteria to qualify for relief shall be clear, easy to understand, and reasonably tailored to the requirements and goals of EO 202.9 and the rule.

Regulated institutions shall process and respond to requests for relief immediately and not later than 10 days from the completion of an application. Determinations shall be communicated in writing where feasible with all appropriate details.

Applicants who are denied relief may file a complaint with DFS via phone or the department website.

Duration

These requirements are in effect for the period set by EO 202.9, by which this regulation will expire on April 20, 2020 unless it is extended.

Additional Guidance

Regulated institutions are encouraged to seek guidance from the department with respect to notices, communications, application processes, reviews, and any other provisions of this regulation

 


Authors

Stuart A. Shorenstein

Member

sshorenstein@cozen.com

(212) 883-4923

Katie Schwab

Practice Director

kschwab@cozen.com

(212) 883-4913

James L. Ansorge

Counsel

jansorge@cozen.com

(212) 297-2695

Evan J. Preminger

Associate

epreminger@cozen.com

(212) 883-4976

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