This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump in the aftermath of the violent events at the Capitol on January 6. The SBA reopened the Paycheck Protection Program, with a two-day head start for lenders that focus on underserved communities. Governor Cuomo delivered a four-part State of the State plan for 2021, as President-elect Biden unveiled for the nation his $1.3 trillion economic relief and stimulus plan.
State Legislative Developments
- The Governor delivered his 2021 State of the State address virtually over four days throughout the week. The Governor announced several of his legislative priorities for 2021 and the Executive Budget during the State of the State, including the following banking related proposals, which NYBA continues to monitor:
- Expanding commercial eviction protections, with an extension of the statewide moratorium on commercial evictions until May 1, 2021 and a prohibition on penalties for late and missed residential rent payments through May 1, 2021
- Legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana
- Creating a rapid testing network as a tool to help businesses reopen
- Convening a commission on the future of NY’s economy
- The Governor is expected to release the full Executive Budget Proposal on Tuesday, January 19, which will then go to the Legislature for consideration, with an expected final passage by April 1. NYBA will provide details on the proposal as they become available.
- The State Legislature is actively considering measures to expand commercial eviction and foreclosure protections. Next week, the Senate is expected to take up the issue to ensure protections are extended to commercial tenants and commercial property owners. S.471A (Kaplan) “The COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021”would protect commercial tenants and certain commercial owners/mortgage holders from eviction, foreclosure, and tax lien sales through May 1, 2021. This bill is substantially similar to the residential eviction and foreclosure protections noted below which NYBA continues to focus on, passed by the legislature and signed into law in December 2020. While there is currently no sponsor in the Assembly, NYBA is monitoring developments in the Assembly. NYBA will continue to keep members updated.
- NYBA continues to focus on provisions of A.11181 (Dinowitz)/S.9114 (Kavanagh), “The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020,” which contains measures to protect renters and residential property owners from eviction, foreclosure, and tax lien sales through May 1, 2021. While NYBA is not opposed to the intent in protecting consumers as well as preventing fraud, we have raised several questions with legislative and Executive stakeholders regarding its implementation and some of the language offered. NYBA primarily focused on issues that would affect extending future credit and attracting investment in New York. NYBA will keep our members updated on developments, and thanks those members who have shared their comments and analysis with us.
Other State Developments
- The Governor announced new details this week regarding the COVID-19 vaccination phases and timeline for New Yorkers as vaccines continue to be distributed to regions across the State.
- Phase 1a remains underway for frontline healthcare workers and congregate facility residents and staff.
- Phase 1b, which was originally expected to begin later in January, is currently underway for those individuals identified as eligible within Phase 1b, with vaccination dependent on vaccine availability within their region. The list of individuals eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1b has been expanded to include individuals 65 years and older, teachers and education workers, first responders, public safety workers, corrections officers, college professors, and public transit workers among others.
- NYBA continues to monitor the impact of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations issued in December identifying financial services workers to be included in Phase 1c of COVID-19 vaccinations as the State determines further categorization of banking employees as essentials workers to receive the vaccine. The Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine webpage contains additional information on the availability and process for the identified vaccination phases.
- NYBA continues to monitor developments on additional identified phases for the vaccine including bank employees and has been in contact with the Department of Financial Services regarding a timeframe for distribution to the financial services industry. Updates will be provided as they become available on NYBA’s Reopening Resources webpage.
- The Empire State Development Corp. continues to provide updated information on NY Forward, which encompasses the phased reopening of the NYS regions. While all regions of NYS are in Phase 4, certain restrictions and protocols remain in place for specific industries and identified micro-cluster zones across NYS. Maps identifying the current micro-cluster zones in NYS are available here.
- An updated chart of all coronavirus banking related activity specific to New York State is available on our website. The chart continues to be updated on a regular basis.
Federal Legislative Developments
- The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump this week, the second time such actions were taken during the President’s term. As lawmakers continue to process the response to the violent actions of January 6, the Senate has not yet decided when to hold the impeachment trial. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be held on Wednesday, January 20.
- NYBA President & CEO Clare Cusack and staff met virtually with three members of New York’s Congressional delegation this week: Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), Greg Meeks (D-Queens), and Joe Morelle (D-Rochester). Lawmakers discussed their banking-related agenda priorities, and shared their stories of the events of January 6. NYBA highlighted several banking priorities, including the rollout of the second round of PPP funding and changes to AML/BSA rules regarding beneficial ownership, both recently passed by Congress.
Federal Regulatory Developments
- The Small Business Administration reopened the Paycheck Protection Program this week to lenders to underserved communities, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (NDIs). Today, the program reopened for lenders under $1 billion in assets. On Tuesday, the program will reopen for all other lenders. The SBA issued several updated forms, reflecting many changes to the program:
Borrower Application for First-Draw Loans
Lender Guaranty Form for First-Draw Loans
Borrower Application for Second-Draw Loans
Lender Guaranty Form for Second-Draw Loans
Notably, the SBA is not using the E-Tran system for this round of funding, and has established a
new web-based platform. An Application Programming Interface (API) may also be used. Also, the SBA issued a procedural notice reflecting the repeal of the deduction of EIDL advances from PPP forgiveness. Yesterday, the SBA released a procedural notice clarifying how lenders may obtain an additional processing fee based on certain increased loan amounts.
- The IRS announced today that it will not begin accepting or processing returns for the tax year 2020 until February 12 in order to allow the Service to deal with economic stimulus payments.
- The OCC finalized a “Fair Access” rule which would prohibit banks with more than $100 billion in assets from denying loans and services to disfavored businesses, such as privately-run prisons, firearms makers or fossil fuel companies. The rule will take effect on April 1, though further review by the new Administration is expected. Banking groups have opposed the rule based on its lack of workability. Also, Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks stepped down from his post on Thursday.
- The federal regulatory agencies are planning to ask for input on the risk management of artificial intelligence applications in financial services, as they explore potential pitfalls of emerging technologies.
- New York City Mayor DeBlasio released his fiscal year 2022 initial budget proposal, which includes $92.28 billion in spending. The budget gap the City must close has increased to $5.25 billion, up from the $3.75 billion budget gap in November 2020. The proposal notes that the City has achieved a total of $2.2 billion in savings over fiscal years 2021 and 2022, although the City has lost $10.5 billion in tax revenue from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2022. The Mayor’s administration may continue to adjust the proposal before officially presenting it to the NYC Council in April. A final budget agreement must be reached by July 1, 2021.
- New York State Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit in the federal Southern District Court of New York against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) to stop the implementation of the new OCC rule effective December 29, 2020 relating to national banks and federal savings associations as lenders. Attorney General James is leading the case with a coalition of eight attorneys general from around the nation, arguing the new rule would undermine New York’s efforts to prevent predatory lenders from charging high interest rates on loans and bypassing state interest rate caps — or usury laws — already in place by enabling “rent a bank” schemes. In the lawsuit, Attorney General James and the coalition argue that the rule stands in direct conflict with the National Bank Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, exceeds the OCC’s statutory authority, and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
- Last week, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to block the OCC from granting a national bank charter to Figure Technologies Inc. In the lawsuit, CSBS challenges the OCC’s authority to create “a new special-purpose national bank charter for nonbank companies” which it refers to as a “Nonbank Charter.” This latest lawsuit follows the dismissal of two other lawsuits filed by the CSBS in D.C. federal district court in which the OCC’s authority to issue special purpose national bank (SPNB) charters to non-depository fintech companies was challenged.
- The CFPB released a statement outlining guiding principles of serving customers with limited English proficiency.