Spring 2020 States In Brief

Colorado

Colorado adopted Regulation Text 15632, related to permanent rules on temporary authority. The permanent rules were effective on March 19, 2020, upon the expiration of the emergency rules.

Georgia

The Supreme Court of Georgia issued an Order regarding the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. The Order permits lawyers to close real estate transactions by video conference. The Order is effective until the Georgia statewide judicial emergency is rescinded or expires by its own terms.

The Governor of Georgia issued Executive Order No. 03.31.20.01 to temporarily suspend the in-person requirements of a notary public and a witness related to legal documents for real estate transactions. The Order is effective until the Public Health State of Emergency declared in Executive Order No. 03.14.20.01 expires, which is currently scheduled for June 12, 2020.

Iowa

Iowa amended its administrative code related to notification fees under the Consumer Credit Code. Specifically, the notification fee required to be paid annually by registrants is updated to reflect $50, from $10. The amendment was effective April 15, 2020.

New York

The New York Department of Financial Services issued an amendment to the state’s recent overhaul of its servicing rules, extending the time to comply by ninety (90) days. Servicers were previously provided a 90-day transition period from the effective date of December 18, 2019, which is now extended to a 180-day transition period.

New York passed Assembly Bill 2653, regarding the use of plain language in consumer transactions. The law increased the loan amount to which the law applies. The change was effective April 8, 2020.
The New York Department of Financial Services issued two notices indicating regulated financial institutions have until May 25, 2020 to submit financial and operational risk preparedness plans. In a prior industry letter on March 10, 2020, the Department had requested the plans by April 9, 2020.

Ohio

The Ohio Division of Financial Institutions released the prepayment penalty adjustment for 2020. Under Ohio law, a prepayment penalty may not be charged for the prepayment or refinancing of a residential mortgage obligation of less than $75,000 (adjusted annually) that is made or arranged by a mortgage broker, loan officer, or non-bank mortgage lender and is secured by a first lien.

Texas

Texas adopted amendments to its regulations, related to loan status forms. The amendments clarify the usage of the Conditional Qualification Letter – Form A and the Conditional Loan Approval – Form B. The amendments were effective May 1, 2020.

Vermont

The Vermont Department of Financial Regulations created the Combination License, which is a new license that serves as a combination of the lender license, mortgage broker license, loan solicitation license, and loan servicer license. Between March 1, 2020 and May 15, 2020, eligible companies may submit a license transition request through NMLS. This transition is optional.

Multi-State Legislation

States are taking action to address Remote Online Notarization (RON) in response to COVID-19. RON is the use of audio and visual technology to complete notarization when the notary is not physically located in the same place as the individual. While some states have already adopted RON statutes, others are responding to COVID-19 by way of executive or emergency orders to permit RON during a specified time.

In the wake of the spread of the Coronavirus, state regulators are working with licensees to permit mortgage loan originators to work from home where it may otherwise be restricted. Depending on the state, licensees may be required to provide written notification to the applicable department and/or abide by set limitations while working from home. Also important is that the effectiveness of the temporary guidance has an end-date in some states, unless modified or withdrawn.

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