At a glanceWednesday, April 01, 2020

Collection Industry News At A Glance - April 1, 2020
Wednesday April 1, 2020
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Fintechs Authorized to Make Small Business Loans as Part of Government Stimulus

Last week the government passed a stimulus package called the CARES Act which included $349 billion in loan guarantees for small business. This was a major topic covered in our recent webinar where various fintech companies in the small business lending space shared how they were ready and willing to help small businesses. However, the question remained whether fintechs would be included to help get funds distributed to the many small businesses who are desperately in need of capital.

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FBI warns about Zoom bombing as hijackers take over school and business video conferences

It was just a matter of time once people began using Zoom more frequently to collaborate remotely, that their conversations would be hijacked in a phenomenon known as Zoom bombing.

Schools, churches, and local governments around the country have all reported getting Zoom bombed, some with racist taunts, profanities or porn. The Boston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation "has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images, and threatening language," the FBI said in a statement Monday. In one case, a Massachusetts high school teacher's class was interrupted by someone who "yelled a profanity and then shouted the teacher's home address in the middle of instruction," according to the FBI.

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State gives guidance on mortgage payments, student loan debt, banking

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued guidance for lenders and borrowers Monday regarding debt collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evictions are suspended for homes and rental units in Illinois per an executive order by Gov. JB Pritzker, and IDFPR is urging mortgage servicers to defer payments for 90 days for those suffering hardship as a result of the pandemic.

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AG Shapiro: First Commonwealth Bank joins ‘PA CARE Package’ initiative, offering expanded consumer relief

HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) ―Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that First Commonwealth Bank has agreed to join the ‘PA CARE Package’, Pennsylvania’s consumer relief initiative. By joining these efforts, First Commonwealth Bank, along with the Office of Attorney General, will ensure Pennsylvania consumers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for additional economic relief.

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Which bills to pay during the coronavirus pandemic

April 1 is here. Meeting routine financial obligations, such as rent and student loans bills, will be a challenge for the millions of Americans who find themselves without a paycheck thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.  Overwhelmed? Scared? Begin by making a list of all your bills, experts say. At the top should be the things you most need. “Normally, rent and mortgage are the most important,” said Anthony Alexis, a partner in Goodwin’s Financial Industry and Consumer Financial Services Litigation. 

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Marriott says 5.2 million guest records were stolen in another data breach

Marriott has confirmed a second data breach in three years — this time involving the personal information on 5.2 million guests. The hotel giant said Tuesday it discovered in late February the breach of an unspecified property system at a franchise hotel. The hackers obtained the login details of two employees, a hotel statement said, and broke in weeks earlier during mid-January.

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7 trade associations send petition to FCC about TCPA exception during COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Financial-services providers want to reach their customers to inform them about products and programs that can be beneficial during the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re asking for help from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clear a regulatory path.

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Student loan collection agency lays off 248 from three Twin Cities offices

In announcing layoffs of 248 Minnesotans, student loan collection agency National Recoveries Inc. cited an executive order that postpones all federal student loan payments, interest and penalties in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Webinar: Security, Compliance, and Contact Strategies to Scale Home-Based Agents During COVID-19

Navigating at-home agents, security, and compliance strategies are hard enough, even without COVID-19 so prevalent.

That's why we put together this webinar, where we will be discussing the core contact and collector system strategies as well as tips and tricks needed to be more compliant with your at-home workforce. Join us on April 2, 2020, at 1:00 PM ET

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PayPal Takes Action to Assist Small Businesses Affected by Coronavirus

SAN JOSE, Calif.March 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) today announced a set of relief measures to help its more than 24 million merchants around the world impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The company is waiving certain fees and will be deferring repayments on business loans for some of its most affected small business customers.

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Nearly 60% of Americans Say Household Income Negatively Impacted by COVID-19

TransUnion unveils research assessing pandemic’s consumer finances impact; launches new consumer educational hub to help

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The “AFCC Debt Settlement Market” 2020 report includes the market strategy, market orientation, expert opinion and knowledgeable information. The AFCC Debt Settlement Industry Report is an in-depth study analyzing the current state of the AFCC Debt Settlement Market. It provides a brief overview of the market focusing on definitions, classifications, product specifications, manufacturing processes, cost structures, market segmentation, end-use applications and industry chain analysis. The study on AFCC Debt Settlement Market provides analysis of market covering the industry trends, recent developments in the market and competitive landscape.

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Cyberattacks rank as the biggest data protection concern facing SMBs

World Backup Day is March 31, and while cyberattacks are a potential threat to their data, many SMBs say they don't have a data backup or disaster recovery process, according to data protection company Infrascale.

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NAFCU, trades to FCC: Allow FIs to communicate coronavirus-related information with members

NAFCU Monday joined with other financial services trade associations to ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure financial services providers can contact consumers on matters related to the coronavirus pandemic during the national emergency.

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Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.

This guidance is intended for planning purposes. Employers and workers should use this planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. Additional guidance may be needed as COVID-19 outbreak conditions change, including as new information about the virus, its transmission, and impacts, becomes available.

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FTC Data Shows Jump in Coronavirus-related Complaints from Consumers

Consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission related to the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) have surged in recent weeks.   Since the beginning of the year, the FTC has received more than 7,800 coronavirus-related reports from consumers, double what they were about a week ago.

Read More Executive Order 2020-16

SPECIAL NOTE: Collection agencies need to take speedy action.
State of Illinois suspends repossessions, with Executive Order in response to COVID-19.

Beginning March 27, 2020 and continuing for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, the provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code, 810 ILCS 5/9-609, regarding the possession or usability of a vehicle, and the provisions of the Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/3-114, regarding the repossession of vehicles, are suspended. No provision contained in this Executive Order shall be construed as relieving any individual of the obligation to make payments or comply with any other obligation that an individual may have pursuant to a loan agreement or otherwise.

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Hawaii Attorney General and Office of Consumer Protection caution against COVID-19 scams

Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors and Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Stephen Levins are alerting Hawaii residents to a wave of COVID-19 scams occurring as a result of the global Coronavirus pandemic.  These scams focus on all areas of consumer vulnerability in an attempt to capitalize on fear and rapidly changing developments.

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Today: NAFCU, NCUA chairman to provide important updates to CUs

Today, NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood will join NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger on the association's Q1 Member Call-In to provide members with important agency updates. The call – set to begin at 4 p.m. Eastern – will also feature updates on the Phase 3 coronavirus relief package, the CARES Act, from Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt and other senior staff.

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FTC Announces September 22 Workshop on Data Portability

The Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop on September 22, 2020, to examine the potential benefits and challenges to consumers and competition raised by data portability.  Data portability gives consumers more control over their data, allowing them to move data—such as emails, contacts, calendars, financial information, health information, favorites, friends, or content posted on social media—from one service to another or to themselves. Data portability may also promote competition by allowing new entrants to access data they otherwise would not have, enabling the growth of competing platforms and services.

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Coronavirus could disrupt how you handle your credit card debt

The coronavirus has put the brakes on the economy. However, many individuals still face due dates for payments on lingering credit card balances. A new survey from finds that 59% of credit card holders – or 110 million adults – entered the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent slowdown with credit card debt. Many of them – 56% – had been carrying that debt for at least one year.

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February pending home sales jump over 9% annually, ahead of major coronavirus impact

Homebuyer demand was strengthening markedly just before COVID-19 began its spread across the U.S. Pending home sales, which measure signed contracts on existing homes, rose a stronger-than-expected 2.4% in February compared with January. Sales were up a steep 9.4% annually, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is the highest pace in exactly three years.

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Attorney General Becerra Urges U.S. Department of Education to Provide Promised Student Debt Relief to Public Servants

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today urged the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to provide promised relief for public servants who apply for student loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) programs. While many of the programs' applicants have completed the public service and payment requirements necessary to qualify for forgiveness of the balance on their federal student loans, nearly all of them have had their applications denied.

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N.C. Insurance Commissioner orders deferral of premium payments to help consumers affected by the COVID-19 health emergency

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has activated an emergency declaration that will defer insurance premium payments for residents in all 100 counties. This order was activated March 27th as a result of President Trump’s March 25th Major Disaster Declaration for the State of North Carolina.
This order also applies to collection agencies, motor clubs and premium finance companies licensed by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. The order will defer not only premium payments but will also defer statutory time requirements. Notices of cancellation, for example, will be deferred.

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4 reasons companies worry about digital debt collection

New advancements always create some amount of anxiety. As new tools and services become available, be sure to educate yourself and get ahead of the curve.

Committing to work with a collections agency can help to reduce the strain of losses on your business. Whether you’re an eCommerce platform with mounting chargebacks, a small lender, or a rapidly growing bank, working with the right collection agency can reshape how you manage delinquent payments. 

Some digital debt collection options also offer self-service products or platforms that allow companies to manage their collections efforts with an internal team supported by powerful, digital tools while other digital companies offer full-service collections.

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Coronavirus’ effect on small merchants tests the limits of fintech lending

The U.S. government will shortly funnel trillions of dollars into the economy to soften the coronavirus’ impact on a variety of industries and small businesses. Payment companies that are also lenders will soon find out if it’s enough to save the market. Firms like PayPal, Kabbage and Square collectively process payments for millions of small businesses. These companies also use those payment flows to underwrite lending and to collect loan payments, often shoring up liquidity for small businesses. Rescue packages in the U.S. and Europe are designed to keep businesses whole during weeks of inactivity, attempting to create short-term sustainability to resume those payment flows over the long term.

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DEBT COLLECTORS, facing growing demands to freeze the collection of debt across the country amid the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, are mobilizing their lobbyists to push back. In New York, residents are receiving a 30-day reprieve from the collection of state-owned medical and student debt. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week similarly announced an end to the collection of city debt, including late parking fines, through at least April 30.

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Are millennials with student debt buying homes?

While many millennials are saddled with student loans and credit cards, they still plan on becoming homeowners despite their debt. About two out of five millennials have student loan debt and owe approximately $498 billion out of the $1.6 trillion in outstanding loans, said Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization. The average total loan amount for each individual between 25 and 34 years old is about $33,000.

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White House vows to start doling out emergency loans to small businesses this week

Trump administration officials vow to launch a massive new loan program for small businesses by Friday in a frenetic effort to prevent them from laying off workers or going out of business as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down large segments of the economy. The $2 trillion bipartisan financial-rescue package signed by President Trump two days ago includes $350 billion in desperately needed relief for small-company operators whose sales have plunged or whose businesses have been ordered closed. Many could fail if the widespread disruptions to the economy persist for more than a month.

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Bank Regulators Urge Small-Dollar Lending in Covid-19 Crisis (1)

Federal regulators urged banks to begin offering small-dollar loans to customers facing financial hardships from the new coronavirus outbreak. Banks are encouraged to offer open-ended lines of credit, closed-end installment loans, or “appropriately sized” single-payment loans, five regulators said in a two-page guidance document released Thursday. Most banks have not been offering small-dollar loans in part because of past statements from regulators warning about some products.

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Pre-coronavirus credit card debt carried over for 110M Americans

Fifty-nine percent of American credit cardholders entered the coronavirus pandemic with outstanding credit card debt, according to a recent study from This percentage is equivalent to around 110 million U.S. adults.

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Experian Supports the Signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

Costa Mesa, Calif., March 27, 2020 – Experian North America has issued the following statement in support of today’s historic CARES Act.

Craig Boundy, CEO of Experian North America:

“These unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Experian supports the signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). We are encouraged by this historic effort to protect consumers and businesses alike. The relief bill is a great step toward economic recovery, directly supporting Americans through expanded unemployment coverage and by providing grants and loans to small businesses.

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AG’s Office Issues Emergency Regulation to Protect Consumers from Harmful Debt Collection Practices During Covid-19 Emergency

Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has filed an emergency regulation designed to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive debt collection practices during the COVID-19 crisis.   The new regulation, 940 CMR 35.00, filed with the Secretary of State’s Office and effective immediately, prohibits creditors from engaging in methods of debt collection that can require people to leave their homes or have in-person contact, including filing new lawsuits against Massachusetts consumers, visiting their homes or places of work, or repossessing their cars, among other protections. The AG’s emergency regulation also prohibits debt collection agencies and debt buyers from making unsolicited debt collection telephone calls to consumers.

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues Request for Information to Assist Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Protection Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) issued today a request for information (RFI) to assist the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law (Taskforce) with recommendations on harmonizing, modernizing, and updating the federal consumer financial laws.

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Attorney General Becerra: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Judgment Against Dish Network for Illegal Telemarketing Calls

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement in response to an appellate court decision that upholds a lower court judgment and injunction against Dish Network. Today’s ruling in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the June 2017 trial court judgment holding the company accountable for engaging in an illegal nationwide telemarketing campaign. Dish Network, both directly and through its authorized direct marketing businesses, made millions of unwanted calls to people on the Do Not Call Registry and tens of millions of illegal robocalls, many directed to California residents

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Director Kraninger Remarks During Financial Stability Oversight Council Meeting

During this challenging time for our nation and the world, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or CFPB) is diligently working to protect consumers in the financial services marketplace and providing Americans with much needed peace of mind.

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Distressed Debt Balloons to Almost $1 Trillion, Nears 2008 Peak

(Bloomberg) -- The amount of distressed debt in the U.S. has quadrupled in less than a week to nearly $1 trillion, reaching levels not seen since 2008 as the collapse of oil prices and fallout from the coronavirus shutters entire industries across the globe. In total, the tally has ballooned to $934 billion of U.S. corporate bonds that yield at least 10 percentage points above Treasuries and loans that trade for less than 80 cents on the dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s nearly double the amount from less than a week ago. The total is probably even higher, because the calculation excludes debt of small-to-medium sized companies whose loans trade rarely, if at all.

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U.S. jobless claims surged to record 3.28 million last week

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surged to a record 3.28 million last week as businesses shuttered and laid off workers as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  In the biggest insight yet into the economic toll thmic is already inflicting,e pande initial jobless claims in the week ended March 21 surged from 282,000 in the prior week and more than quadruple the previous record high of 695,000 in 1982, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday. The data date back to 1967.  Economists’ projections for the figure ranged as high as 4.4 million.

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Fed chair Powell says will provide nearly unlimited lending

WASHINGTON -- Jerome Powell says the Federal Reserve would provide essentially unlimited lending to support the economy as long as it is damaged by the viral outbreak. In an interview Thursday morning on NBC's “Today” show, the Fed chair said the bank's efforts are focused on helping the economy recover quickly once the threat from the virus has passed. Powell also acknowledged that the economy “may well be” in a recession, but said that this is a unique downturn in that it was caused by efforts to control the disease. The economy itself was strong before the outbreak began, he said.

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Mortgage applications drop by biggest amount in 11 years

The number of people applying for a mortgage — either to refinance or buy a home — plunged by the largest amount in more than 11 years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA’s index that measures application volume dropped 29.4% last week from the previous one. That was the biggest decrease — percentage-wise — since January 2009, the MBA found. Refinancing applications led the decline, falling 33.8% versus the previous week, while applications to purchase a home slipped 14.6%.

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Attorney General Josh Stein Takes Additional Steps to Protect North Carolina Consumers During COVID-19 Pandemic

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein took two additional steps today to help protect North Carolinians as many face financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Stein is suspending all of the North Carolina Department of Justice’s collections efforts of state debts effective immediately and until further notice. He is also asking all local and municipal utilities to commit to maintaining access to water, power, gas, and other vital services for residents.  “North Carolinians who are struggling with their health, have been laid off from their job, or are facing cuts to their income in the wake of COVID-19 should not have to bear additional burdens that will further harm their health or their finances,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “That’s why I’m suspending the Department of Justice’s debt collection efforts and why I’m asking local and municipal utilities to ensure that North Carolinians have continued access to water, gas, and power. Now, more than ever, we must do the right thing for fellow North Carolinians.”

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Attorney General Becerra Joins Multistate Letter Urging Secretary DeVos to Protect Student Loan Borrowers During COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a multistate coalition of 27 attorneys general in submitting a comment letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos calling on her to immediately implement emergency measures to protect federal student loan borrowers in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 (“HEROES Act”), Secretary DeVos has the authority to waive or modify statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to student financial assistance programs during a national emergency.

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$2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill gives student-loan borrowers six months of relief

Student-loan borrowers struggling to make payments as the coronavirus cripples parts of the U.S. economy will get a temporary break under the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill the Senate unanimously approved late Wednesday.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act lets student-loan borrowers take a six month break from making payments on their federally-backed student loans.

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Federal Agencies Encourage Banks, Savings Associations, and Credit Unions to Offer Responsible Small-Dollar Loans to Consumers and Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Five federal financial regulatory agencies today issued a joint statement encouraging banks, savings associations, and credit unions to offer responsible small-dollar loans to consumers and small businesses in response to COVID-19.  The statement of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recognizes that responsible small-dollar loans can play an important role in meeting customers’ credit needs because of temporary cash-flow imbalances, unexpected expenses, or income disruptions during periods of economic stress or disaster recoveries.

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CFPB Provides Flexibility During COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today announced that it is providing needed flexibility to enable financial companies to work with customers in need as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau is postponing some data collections from industry on Bureau-related rules to allow companies to focus on responding to consumers in need and making changes to its supervisory activities to account for operational challenges at regulated entities.

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Big U.S. banks offer forbearance on mortgages -California Governor

SAN FRANCISCO, March 25 (Reuters) - Four of the nation’s five largest banks have agreed to postpone foreclosures and offer forbearance on mortgage payments for three months for homeowners impacted by COVID-19, California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday. But while JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo , Citi and 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions all agreed to offer 90 days of protections, Bank of America had “unfortunately” only committed to 30 days, he said.

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Small-dollar loans highlight banks’ coronavirus relief efforts

With the novel coronavirus pandemic shutting down nearly every aspect of daily life, banks have begun extending cheap credit and other forms of relief to help customers withstand the economic shocks. Liberty Bank in Middletown, Conn., for example, will soon begin making unsecured consumer loans of up to $5,000 at no interest for its customers. The $5.9 billion-asset bank has committed $5 million to that loan program to go along with other customer relief efforts.

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In recognizing businesses and non-profits for their achievements and commitment to quality in the workplace, FMA was recognized at the annual Better Business Bureau Awards of Excellence on March, 2020. Recognized as a Winner of Distinction, this was the sixth time (2015-2020) to be recognized by the Better Business Bureau for service excellence.

When asked what it means to FMA to receive this recognition, Mike Janakes, president, states “We work hard to provide top notch service to our customers and clients and it is an honor to be recognized for our efforts.”

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Industry Events

Digital Banking 2020

American Banker

Austin Convention Center 500 East Cesar Chavez Street
Austin , TX
June 08 - 10 , 2020

(212) 803-8456

NACTT 55th Annual Seminar 2020

National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT)

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina 333 West Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101
San Diego , CA
July 08 - 11 , 2020

800-445-8629 | 803-765-0860

Debt Connection Symposium & Expo 2020

Resource Management Services, Inc.

Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
11011 W Charleston Blvd , Las Vegas, NV 89135
September 15 - 17 , 2020


LendIt Fintech USA

Save 15% with our Discount Code: DC15%

Javits Center, New York
New York
September 30 - October 01 , 2020

LendIt Fintech Europe 2020

LendIt Fintech Europe

Hilton London Angel Islington 53 Upper Street
London , N1 0UY, UK
October 19 - 20 , 2020


Auto Finance Summit 2020

Royal Media

Wynn Las Vegas
3131 S Las Vegas Blvd , Las Vegas, NV 89109
October 20 - 22 , 2020

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