Department of Business Oversight - Monthly Bulletin

Monthly Bulletin – April 2020

Volume 7, Number 9

Monthly Bulletin

COVID-19 Updates

CoronavirusCOVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus virus that has been spreading worldwide and throughout California. We are gaining more understanding of COVID-19’s epidemiology, clinical course, immunogenicity and other factors, and the situation is changing daily. It has become clear that the response to this pandemic will continue for many weeks, if not months.

Mortgage Forbearance, Rent, Foreclosure, and Eviction Relief

On March 16, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N28-20 directing the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) to work with financial institutions to identify ways to provide Californians relief from the threat of residential foreclosure and displacement, and to promote housing security and stability. The executive order also asked financial institutions to implement an immediate moratorium on foreclosures arising from causes related to COVID-19.

In furtherance of the Governor’s executive order, Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes M. Castro Ramirez and DBO Commissioner Manuel P. Alvarez issued guidance to financial institutions, escrow agents, finance lenders and servicers, student loan servicers licensed under the Student Loan Servicing Act, and residential mortgage lenders and servicers licensed under the California Financing Law (CFL) and California Residential Mortgage Lending Act (CRMLA).

Other BCSH, DBO Guidance

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Many Californians have already experienced losses of income or other financial hardships as the result of business closures, lost hours or wages, and layoffs related to the pandemic.  In light of a state of emergency proclaimed by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 4, the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) and the DBO issued additional guidance that has been transmitted to licensees and posted to the DBO website.

COVID-19 Investor Fraud Alert

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On April 7, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Commissioner Alvarez issued an alert about investment scams related to the coronavirus and COVID-19. Investors should be wary of claims that companies have developed cures or vaccines for the coronavirus or can supply needed medical equipment, like masks, gloves or ventilators. These are red flags that an investment could be a scam.

Attorney General Becerra and Commissioner Alvarez encourage anyone who has been the victim or who otherwise has information about an investment scam to immediately file a report through http://oag.ca.gov/report or https://docqnet.dbo.ca.gov/complaint.

For information about other coronavirus-related scams, please see the DBO’s COVID-19 Updates at https://dbo.ca.gov/2020/03/25/covid19 and Attorney General Becerra’s alerts regarding fraudulent charities and false advertising.

 

Additional COVID-19 Resources

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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has established a website with up-to-date information about the COVID-19 virus and the state’s response to the pandemic. The site includes daily updates.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has posted Financial Institution Letters (FILs) that offer advice on pandemic responses for financial institutions.

Federal and state financial regulators issued a joint policy statement providing flexibility to enable mortgage servicers to work with struggling consumers affected by the coronavirus  emergency. The statement was issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, FDIC, National Credit Union Administration and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The North American Securities Administrators Association has established a resource page to collect COVID-19-related updates from state and provincial securities regulators.

The U.S. Department of Education has established a webpage with coronavirus and loan forbearance information for students, borrowers and parents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

U.S. CARES Act: COVID-19 Aid

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The federal government has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act. Economic relief provisions of the CARES Act are being administered by the U.S. Treasury Department. The Treasury has established a website with information on the Act.

Relief provisions include enhanced unemployment benefits, small business assistance, “paycheck protection,” and direct cash payments to U.S. residents.

 

DBO Sues Student Loan Servicer Over Preemption Issues

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Challenging industry claims that federal student loan servicers are largely exempt from state regulation, the DBO has filed a lawsuit to force the nation’s second largest student loan servicer to comply with California’s law to protect the state’s 4 million student loan borrowers.

The complaint, filed April 1 in San Francisco Superior Court, requests an order requiring student loan servicer Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), better known as FedLoan Servicing, to produce documents that detail the company’s administration of a mismanaged grant program for teachers.

“There can be no serious dispute that California has a compelling interest in protecting its student borrowers from poor servicing practices. These students comprise California’s future and we cannot sit idly as struggling, well-meaning students fall further into default because of shoddy servicing,” Commissioner Alvarez said. “In the absence of any meaningful federal oversight, state regulation of student loan servicers is essential.”

Decennial U.S. Census is Here

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Every 10 years, people across the United States fill out census questionnaires, helping to ensure accurate population counts and determine national representation through the number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes allotted to each state. The Census also determines each state’s federal funding for important services that help support families and local governments. In the upcoming census, California risks losing a Congressional seat if accurate counts are not reported.

Most households should have already received a postcard with details on how to go online and fill out the Census questionnaire. If you have not received your Census postcard, you can go to https://my2020census.gov and submit your household information there. When completing your census form, be sure to include every person living in your household, family or not, and children of all ages. The information you provide is private, secure, and critically important.

To learn more about the 2020 Census in California and why it matters, visit
https://californiacensus.org.

Comment Period Extended on Public Banking Regs

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The DBO is seeking comment on proposed regulations to implement the new public banking law. Governor Newsom signed AB 857 (Chapter 442, Statutes of 2019) last year to establish a process for a local agency to apply for a public bank charter from the DBO.

To expedite the rulemaking process, the Commissioner intends to issue regulations in phases. The first phase will focus on general definitions and application requirements. This will enable the Commissioner to provide guidance on those areas most immediately relevant to stakeholders and enable implementation of the new law as quickly as possible.

Subsequent rulemaking phases will address areas specific to licensees, including examination and reporting requirements and collateralization of local agency deposits.

The Invitation for Comments may be accessed here. Comments may be submitted to regulations@dbo.ca.gov by May 19 (extended from the original April 4 deadline).

April 20 Deadline to Comment on Proposed Money Transmission Agent of Payee Regulations

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The DBO is seeking comment by April 20 on proposed regulations to clarify the scope of the agent of payee exemption under the Money Transmission Act (MTA).

The MTA exempts transactions in which an agent is contractually appointed by a payee and a payor’s delivery of funds to the agent is deemed by contract to satisfy the payor’s obligation to the payee for goods or services provided by the payee to the payor (“agent of payee exemption”).

The agent of payee exemption was added to the MTA in recognition of the evolving nature of online payments. The exemption is self-executing, which means an entity does not need the DBO’s prior authorization to rely on the exemption. Due to the self-executing nature, regulations are needed to clarify the application of the exemption to avoid uncertainty and confusion.

The notice, text, and initial statement of reasons for this proposed rulemaking action may be accessed here. Comments may be submitted to regulations@dbo.ca.gov by the April 20 deadline.

LICENSEE ACTIVITY

Commercial Bank Activity

Merger

Opus Bank, Irvine, to merge with and into Pacific Premier Bank, Irvine
Filed: 3/2/20

Acquisition of Control

Golden Valley Bancshares, Inc., to acquire control of Golden Valley Bank
Filed: 3/6/20
Approved: 3/12/20

Sang Young Lee, Chun Young Lee and Lee’s Gold and Diamond Imports, Inc., to acquire control of Pacific City Bank
Filed: 3/10/20

Application for Trust Powers

Pacific Premier Bank
17901 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine
Filed: 3/2/20

Voluntary Surrender of License

Wells Fargo Bank, Ltd.
707 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
Effected: 3/31/20

Premium Finance Company Activity

Change of Name

Next Wave Premium Finance, Inc., to change its name to Next Wave Premium Finance of CA, Inc.
Effected: 9/9/19

Foreign (Other Nation) Bank Activity

New Office

ICICI Bank Limited
Sunnyvale (Representative Office)
Filed: 3/13/20

 

MANUEL P. ALVAREZ • Commissioner of Business Oversight

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The April 2020 Monthly Bulletin covers the month ended  March 31, 2020.

It is issued pursuant to Financial Code section 376.

The Monthly Bulletin is available at no charge via e-mail.

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Last updated: May 1, 2020 @ 1:12 pm