New York Story Archive

Proposed Amendment to Debt Collection Regulation Will Help Ensure New Yorkers Pay Only Debts They Owe and Only Pay Them Once

December 15, 2021 — Acting Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed a new amendment to 23 NYCRR 1, the Department’s regulation governing debt collectors and debt buyers, to protect consumers from predatory debt collection practices and scams. Considering the findings from DFS’ investigations of abusive and deceptive debt collection, as well as data on consumer complaints to regulators, the Department is proposing the amendment to ensure consumers pay only debts they owe and pay them only once.

“Predatory debt collection practices can deceive consumers and ultimately lead them further into economic hardship,” said Acting Superintendent Harris. “DFS’ proposed amendment requires clear communication on consumer debt obligations and ensures the consumer has the right information to dispute the validity of the debt. This amendment enhances consumer protections through increased transparency and prevention of harassment, helping put people on a path to financial well-being.”

This proposed amendment will enhance disclosures to consumers, reduce opportunities for debt collectors to mislead consumers about their debt obligations, and prevent harassment of consumers with excessive communication through stricter limits on phone calls than federal regulations impose. The proposed amendment will:

  • Help ensure consumers pay only debts they owe and pay them only once by mitigating opportunity for predatory debt collection through changes that address specific actors and specific harms;
  • Require debt collectors to provide key data about the alleged debt to the consumer and maintain records relating to the alleged debt so that the consumer can identify the debt or dispute the allegation;
  • Reduce opportunities for debt collectors to mislead consumers about the character of the debt and their obligations to pay through disclosure requirements, including mandated written disclosures; and
  • Limit harassing phone calls and other excessive communication from debt collectors.

To access a copy of the proposed amendment, please go to the DFS website.

Superintendent Lacewell Announces Proposed DFS Guidance to New York Insurers on Managing the Financial Risks from Climate Change

Proposed Guidance Outlines Expectations that New York Insurers Integrate the Consideration of Climate Risks into their Governance Frameworks, Risk Management Processes and Business Strategies, and Develop their Approach to Climate-Related Financial Disclosure

DFS Seeks Input on the Proposed Guidance During 90-Day Comment Period

March 25, 2021 — Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued proposed detailed guidance for New York-regulated domestic insurers setting out DFS’s expectations related to managing the financial risks from climate change.

The proposed guidance builds on the circular letter issued by DFS on September 22, 2020, which outlined its expectations that all New York insurers start integrating the consideration of the financial risks from climate change into their governance frameworks, risk management processes, and business strategies, and developing their approach to climate-related financial disclosure. DFS is seeking the interested parties’ input on the guidance, which will be finalized following a 90-day public comment period.


Department of Financial Services Issues Cybersecurity Alert to Regulated Entities Concerning Microsoft Exchange Email Servers

The New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) today issued the following industry letter to all of its regulated entities following the recent discovery of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server. 

March 09, 2021 —In recent days, thousands of organizations were compromised via zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server. On March 2, 2021, Microsoft made patches available for these vulnerabilities but many organizations were compromised either before the patches were available or before the patches were applied.

The Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) urges all regulated entities with vulnerable Microsoft Exchange services to act immediately. Regulated entities should immediately patch or disconnect vulnerable servers, and use the tools provided by Microsoft to identify and remediate any compromise exploiting these zero-day vulnerabilities. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) has also released a current activity update outlining how to search for a compromise.


Public Deposits Granted to New York Credit Unions
In December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation permitting New York credit unions to accept public deposits. Under the new law, credit unions can participate in the state’s Banking Development District Program.

According to the New York Credit Union Association, the BDD Program was created in 1997 to encourage financial institutions to establish branches in economically distressed communities throughout New York where there is a demonstrated need for banking services. Institutions that are approved for a BDD designation are eligible to receive up to $10 million in subsidized public deposits and other benefits, including below-market-rate deposits from New York state. These deposits are intended to lower the financial risk that the branch may incur when opening in an underserved community, usually comprised of low- and moderate-income households.

Marijuana Banking Rules Issued
July 10, 2018 — Recently, under the direction of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued guidance encouraging New York State chartered banks and credit unions to consider establishing banking relationships with New York medical marijuana-related businesses that are in full compliance with state laws and regulations.

DFS noted that it will not impose any regulatory action on any state-chartered banks or credit unions for establishing a banking relationship with a medical marijuana-related business if the financial institutions comply with the requirements of:

  • The 2014 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network guidance;
  • The guidance and priorities set forth in the Department of Justice’s 2013 memorandum from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole; and
  • Is subject to the institution’s own evaluation of the risks associated with offering products and services and its ability and systems to effectively manage those risks – as all DFS-regulated institutions do with regard to all their banking relationships.

NYCUA’s resource page gives full comparison of state v. fed charter
Jan. 8, 2018 — Looking for a comprehensive examination of the state charter versus the federal charter? Look no further than the New York Credit Union Association’s (NYCUA) “State Charter Resource Center” on the web, which includes a 30-slide presentation that looks at topics including taxation, field of membership, lending, trust powers, low-income designation and more. The website also includes a cost comparison of the federal versus the state charter, a rundown of the state charter conversion process (and checklist), and sample bylaws. The resources were developed by the NYCUA, it says, to “assist credit unions to better understand the state charter and how it compares to the federal charter.”

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