Like most industries today, consumer finance service companies are significantly affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Troutman Pepper has developed a COVID-19 Resource Center to guide clients through this unprecedented global health challenge. We regularly update this site with COVID-19 news and developments, recommendations from leading healthcare organizations, and tools businesses can use for free.
Our banking and loan clients are also facing new challenges affecting their industry as a result of COVID-19, particularly the ever-changing rules and regulations regarding evictions and foreclosures. We are following these updates closely and have assembled an interactive tracking tool with state orders and guidance material regarding residential lockdowns and eviction moratoria. You can access this interactive tool at https://covid19.trutman.com/.
To help you stay on top of relevant activities, below is a breakdown of some of the biggest COVID-19-related events at the federal and state levels that have impacted the consumer finance services industry. last week :
Privacy and cybersecurity activities
- On September 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report warning that millions of tenants and their families could suffer previously averted economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic when federal and state relief programs end. The report, “Financial Conditions of Tenants Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” finds that some government relief efforts have likely helped maintain financial stability for tenants and their families, suggesting that many could be at risk for as these programs expire. The report, which compared landlords and tenants, found on average that the economic conditions of tenants were significantly more sensitive to relief measures, such as stimulus payments and changes in unemployment benefits. So when these programs end, tenants and their families may be at increased risk. For more information, click here.
- On September 14, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted to approve and release a series of resolutions that will enable agency staff to effectively and quickly investigate behavior in key FTC priority areas over the years. Next 10 years. The FTC recommended that the commission authorize eight new mandatory process resolutions in these critical areas: (1) acts or practices affecting members and veterans of the United States military; (2) acts or practices affecting children; (3) bias in algorithms and biometrics; (4) deceptive and manipulative conduct on the Internet; (5) repair restrictions; (6) abuse of intellectual property; (7) common directors and officers and common property; and (8) monopolization offenses. For more information, click here.
- On September 13, President Joe Biden announced his intention to appoint Alvaro Bedoya to serve on the FTC. Bedoya would replace Rohit Chopra, who is awaiting confirmation from the Senate as CFPB director. For more information, click here.
- On January 31, 2022, the hiatus on interest and payments for student loans held by the federal government will end. The CFPB has published a blog post to help consumers prepare for reimbursement and to inform them of the options if they cannot afford to pay. For more information, click here.
- On September 14, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring resolved a multi-state investigation by his consumer protection section of StubHub, Inc. According to the press release, more than 8,300 Virgins were affected when StubHub shut down. refused to “reimburse consumers for concerts, sporting events, and other events that were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” After the investigation began, StubHub agreed to reimburse ticket purchases made before March 25, 2020 and agreed to notify affected customers. For more information, click here.
- On September 14, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that his office had filed a lawsuit against President Biden and other administration officials regarding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees, federal contractors and private companies with more than 100 employees. According to the press release, “[t]it is the first lawsuit in the country to be filed against the Biden [a]radical actions of the administration requiring COVID-19 vaccines. In the lawsuit, Attorney General Brnovich claims that “Biden’s vaccination mandate violates the equal protection clause by favoring migrants who entered the country illegally over legal US citizens.” For more information, click here.
- On September 9, the California State Assembly passed a bill that (1) would prohibit hospitals from selling certain patient debts; (2) require collectors to certify that patients have been screened for public programs and financial aid before filing a collection suit, and (3) extend the period before a debt can be placed with them. ” a collection agency up to 180 days after the initial billing. For more information, click here.
- On September 8, Washington State Attorney General Bob Fergus announced a settlement with a debt collector who allegedly sent deceptive “offer to settle” letters to settle debts without revealing the debt was time barred. . Failure to disclose debts beyond the statute of limitations violates state consumer protection law, according to Attorney General Fergus. Washingtonians who sent money to the debt collector will receive that money plus interest from the date of payment. For more information, click here.
Privacy and cybersecurity activities:
- On September 15, the FTC issued a statement claiming that mobile apps processing health information or other connected devices that collect health information “must comply with [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA)] Health damage notification rule[.]For those unfamiliar with the HIPAA health breach notification rule, covered entities should send alerts when they discover the use or disclosure of personal health information not permitted by the privacy rule. of HIPAA. Much of the information now collected by health-focused mobile apps includes everything from glucose levels to heart health and sleep cycles. The FTC statement is especially important for developers who plan to collect immunization status information for verification purposes; Discover Troutman Pepper’s Law360 item to learn more about potential privacy concerns. For those who want to learn more about the FTC statement, click here. To learn more about the implications of HIPAA on COVID-19, be sure to read the Troutman Pepper Privacy and Cyber Security FAQ by clicking on here.
- On September 13, the FTC warned people using LGBTQ + dating apps that scammers were targeting them to extort their hard-earned money. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to socialize online, crooks would pose as potential romantic partners on LGBTQ + dating apps and collect conversations or photos to blackmail victims. Scammers threaten individuals by telling victims that unless they pay, scammers will share any information they have gathered with their friends, family or employers. The FTC shared a few tips:
- Check who you’re talking to by searching to see if their photo or profile is a different name;
- Don’t share personal information with strangers online; and
- Do not pay crooks to destroy data because there is no guarantee that the crooks will delete the information.
To read the full announcement, click here.
- Earlier this month, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the results of a study of COVID-19 exposure notification applications, also known as contact tracing. GAO has shared four policy options to help developers meet future challenges, including guidance on consistent privacy and security standards. The GAO also noted that developers should consider implementing flexible privacy requirements, as jurisdictional privacy laws vary across the country. For those interested in learning more about the GAO study, click here. For developers working on contact tracing applications, consider checking out Troutman Pepper’s Law360 item, where we describe the privacy guidelines for contact tracing.