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 find 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:
- On December 31, 2021, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Jelena McWilliams resigned her position effective February 4. For more information, click here.
- On December 28, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission issued supplemental guidance on the Reassigned Numbers Database that updates database information, attempting to improve its subscribers and enhance callers’ ability to avoid making unwanted calls to consumers. For more information, click here.
- On December 15, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts California’s rule prohibiting waivers of California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims in individual arbitration agreements. PAGA allows employees to file “private attorney general” lawsuits against their employers to pursue civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the state of California. For more information, click here.
- On December 31, 2021, New York Governor Kathleen Hochul signed a bill into law that will lower the interest rate charged on unpaid money judgments to 2%. The law, effective April 30, applies to new judgment and retroactively to any judgment not fully satisfied when the law goes into effect. For more information, click here.
- On December 31, 2021, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, after receiving over $258 million for homeowner assistance from the American Rescue Plan, launched the Virginia Mortgage Relief program to help homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments. Applications opened on January 3. For more information, click here.
- On December 29, 2021, the California Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling, prohibiting a company from collecting on $38 million of unpaid debt as consumers were not provided statutory notice of the risks of cosigning a consumer credit contract. For more information, click here.
- On December 29, 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James cancelled more than $200,000 in illegal housing debt and recouped another $65,000 in restitution for certain college students in New York as part of an agreement with an off-campus private student housing provider that deceived hundreds of students since 2019. An investigation by the New York Office of the Attorney General found that the housing provider routinely coaxed students into signing leases, then demanded thousands of dollars in rent, while denying students access to those apartments. For more information, click here.
- On December 27, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued guidance on protecting personal data going into the new year. The FTC’s five recommendations included (1) keeping security software, internet browser, and operating systems up to date, (2) creating and using strong passwords, (3) using multifactor authentication, (4) backing up data, and (5) protecting home networks. As remote work and schooling continues, these steps can help individuals protect their information from malicious attacks. To read the full guidance, click here.