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Exploring the Expansion of the Bankruptcy Code under the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, provides widespread economic relief for individuals and businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak and includes several key modifications and amendments to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. We explore how these revisions will immediately impact the bankruptcy landscape for both individual debtors and small businesses below. More ›

Payment Deferral Now an Option for Borrowers in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac COVID-19 Forbearance Plans

We previously reported on the impact of the CARES Act on federally backed mortgage loans, including the immediate availability of a 180 – 360 day forbearance plan for borrowers impacted by the pandemic. One key feature of this legislation and accompanying guidance publications is that servicers of GSE loans are required to evaluate borrowers for repayment options—including reinstatement, a repayment plan, modification, or some other workout—at the conclusion of the forbearance period. The forbearance plans do not offer loan forgiveness, and borrowers and their servicers are expected to resolve the forbearance amount at the end of the plan. More ›

Governor Cuomo Extends New York Mortgage Foreclosure Moratorium, But With Exceptions…

On May 7, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.28, which provides further temporary relief measures for tenants facing an eviction. The order also directly impacts mortgage loan holders, servicers, and borrowers, as it bars the "initiation" of certain residential and commercial mortgage foreclosures for another 60 days from June 20, 2020. More ›

CFPB Issues New Mortgage Servicer Guidelines for Transferring Loans to a New Servicer

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published compliance guidanceeffective immediately—on the handling of information and documents during the transfer of a mortgage loan to a new servicer. Following related guidance issued in 2014 on these mortgage servicer transfers, CFPB supervisory examiners have continued to document weaknesses in servicer compliance management systems and violations of Regulation X, including inadequate policies and procedures for transferring loan information and documents in a timely and accurate manner that ensures uninterrupted continuation of required servicing functions. More ›

Federal Court Nixes Massachusetts Attorney General's Emergency Debt Collection Regulations

Yesterday, a federal court granted ACA International's request for a temporary restraining order of the Massachusetts Attorney General's emergency regulations prohibiting debt collection calls and enforcement actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns concluded that the AG's "flat ban" on debt collection calls violates the First Amendment as an impermissible restriction on commercial speech. In addition, Judge Stearns held that regulations prohibiting the initiation of lawsuits—even temporarily—violates the First Amendment right of debt collectors' to petition the government. More ›

Inspection by HUD's Inspector General of FHA Mortgage Servicers' Websites Reveals Incomplete, Inconsistent, and Unclear CARES Act Forbearance Information

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Inspector General issued a COVID-19 bulletin for homeowners that revealed the HUD has been monitoring what readily accessible information FHA mortgage servicers are providing to borrowers on their websites. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has already provided guidance to FHA servicers regarding implementation of the CARES Act as it pertains to provisions related to forbearance. However, HUD's Inspector General warned in the bulletin that its review of the top 30 FHA servicers' websites revealed "incomplete, inconsistent, dated, and unclear guidance" to borrowers in connection with their forbearance options under the CARES Act. More ›

Federal Court Hears Oral Argument in ACA's TRO Petition Seeking to Enjoin Massachusetts's Emergency Debt Collection Regulations

On May 1, 2020, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Judge Richard Stearns heard oral arguments in ACA International's suit to halt the emergency debt collection regulations enacted in Massachusetts, which included a request for a temporary restraining order. In response to ACA's said request, Stearns expressed particular interest in whether the regulations constitute an improper ban on commercial speech under the First Amendment, as well as AG Maura Healey's argument that the federal court does not have jurisdiction to strike down the regulations under the Eleventh Amendment. More ›

Collection Industry Trade Group Sues Massachusetts Attorney General to Halt Emergency Regulations

We recently reported on Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's implementation of temporary regulations halting collection of debt from Massachusetts' consumers in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. With certain exemptions, the regulations declare the performance of many regular debt collection activities—including placing telephone calls to debtors or initiating collection actions—an unfair or deceptive practice under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. The emergency regulations apply until June 25, 2020, or until the end of Massachusetts' state of emergency, if longer. Now, a leading industry group has sued the Attorney General to enjoin immediate enforcement and to strike down the regulations. More ›

Stepping Beyond the CARES Act: Massachusetts Expands Forbearance and Issues Sweeping Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions during COVID-19 Emergency

On April 20, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed H.4647 into law. The law establishes a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for 120 days from the date of the enactment, or 45 days after the COVID-19 Emergency Order is lifted, whichever is sooner, and also extends forbearance to any borrower who requests it due to COVID-19. The law allows the Governor to expand the foreclosure moratorium for a further 90 days, so long as it does not exceed the 45 day limit after the COVID-19 Emergency Order is lifted. More ›

New York Cuts Statute of Limitations for Bringing an Action to Recover Medical Debts From Six to Three Years

On April 3, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York's 2021 Executive Budget into law. Many of Governor Cuomo's and lawmakers' legislative agenda priorities were not included in the budget, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, Governor Cuomo's call for formal licensing and regulation of the debt collection industry was removed from the final budget. More ›

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