With the State Legislature gearing up to tackle other issues, now that the Budget has passed, NYBA is gearing up for an active two months until the end of the legislative session. NYBA is also launching a free webinar on the State's new Power of Attorney law, set to go into effect in June. In Washington, climate risk was a common theme with both legislators and regulators.
State Legislative Developments
- NYBA members and staff met with Senate Banks Committee Chair Senator James Sanders Jr. this week to discuss the Senator’s public bank bill which would allow municipalities in New York State to create a municipal level bank; a proposal which NYBA strongly opposes. Instead, NYBA continues to highlight new ways to help communities and individuals gain access to financial services, including improvements to existing programs and initiatives aimed at expanded financial access in underserved communities.
- Among the bills on next week’s Committee agendas:
- S.191 (Sanders)/A.5491 (Darling), which authorizes credit unions to participate in the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program, is on the Senate Finance Committee agenda. This bill is currently in the Assembly Ways & Means Committee. NYBA opposes the bill, and has submitted a memo in opposition.
- A.6617A (Weinstein)/S.5923A (Thomas) which would exempt COVID-19 economic stimulus payments from certain types of garnishment, including last year’s CARES Act payments and the most recent payment in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, is on the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda. The bill is currently on the floor in the Assembly.
Other State Developments
- COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered across NYS as vaccines become available from the federal government. On Thursday, the Governor announced that more than 50% of New Yorkers 18 years of age and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than one in three in the same age group have been fully vaccinated. Currently, individuals 16 years of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. NYBA continues to advocate for access to the vaccine through employers able to participate in vaccination programs. All updates will be provided as they become available on NYBA’s Reopening Resources webpage.
- 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.
State Regulatory Developments
- The Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell announced the Department’s new Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment in a press release earlier this week. According to a Department press release, DFS has implemented this new office to "protect and empower all New York consumers and move DFS’ priority of economic justice forward." The Superintendent also announced the Honorable Tremaine Wright, previous representative for the 56th District of the New York State Assembly, has been appointed as the first Director of the Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment.
- The New York City Council announced that a hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 regarding two measures introduced by Councilmember Mark Levine which relate to public banking. Intro. 2099-2020 would require the NYC Commissioner of Finance to make quarterly reports regarding the NYC Department of Finance’s accounts of deposit, disaggregated by account and re-aggregated by bank or trust company. Intro. 2100A-2020 would require the Director of Management and Budget to issue to the Speaker of the Council, and to post on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) website, quarterly reports on the City’s use of non-depository financial institutions for the immediately-preceding quarter, by January 31, 2022. Such reports would detail the fees and returns for a wide variety of financial services, including money market accounts and bond issues, but excluding pension investments. In addition, the Council is considering a resolution to support two State legislative bills: A.5782/S.176, which would establish the New York Public Banking Act, and A.3309/S.3016, which would establish an Empire State Public Bank.
Federal Legislative Developments
- NYBA staff met with the Chief of Staff for Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) this week to discuss financial inclusion initiatives and expanded access to financial services. Rep. Torres currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee.
- The Senate confirmed Gary Gensler to chair the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), who is expected to usher in policies requiring more disclosures from public companies on climate change impact.
- Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) introduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, which would require the SEC to mandate companies that issue securities to annually report on specific climate impacts and their climate risk management strategies. The bill could be considered in the House Financial Services Committee as soon as next week.
Federal Regulatory Developments
- The SBA issued a procedural notice to reflect the recently enacted extension of the Paycheck Protection Program. The SBA will close its PPP platform to new loan guaranty applications on June 1, but will continue to process applications until July 1. The SBA also updated FAQs to clarify rules regarding applicants and bankruptcy.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac informed lenders that most loans they purchase after July 1 must comply with the CFPB’s final QM rule, thereby effectively ending the “GSE patch.”
- The Treasury Department has established a new office to manage most of the recovery and relief programs set up in the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan. The Office of Recovery Programs will oversee Emergency Rental Assistance, the Homeowner Assistance Fund, the State Small Business Credit Initiative, the Capital Projects Fund, the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Program, the Payroll Support Program and the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) issued new FAQs for advisers and investors focused on fiduciary investment advice. The new language was prompted by the Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2020-02 and the regulation’s five-part test that determines whether a person renders investment advice under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
- DOL also issued cybersecurity guidance for retirement plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and record keepers, and retirement investors. The documents cover hiring a service provider, Best Practices, online security tips.
News from NYBA
- This week, NYBA President & CEO Clare Cusack and staff members held a virtual meeting with more than a dozen bank CEOs from New York’s Central and Southern Tier Region, hosted by Region Chair Mike Pollock, President & CEO of Fulton Savings Bank. NYBA thanks all those who attended the roundtable discussion of current issues facing the industry.
NYBA is holding a free webinar for members on “New York’s New Power of Attorney Law Explained,” as the new law will take effect in June 2021. Presented by Elizabeth Murphy and Kevin Patterson of Cullen Dykman, please join us on Wednesday, April 28 from 10-11:00 a.m. Register here. If you are unable to attend, a recording will be made available.
- The federal banking agencies released “Supervisory Guidance on Model Risk Management” to assist banks in complying with Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering rules. The guidance, which does not carry the force of law, does not prescribe a specific risk model framework, nor does it add new supervisory requirements.
- The CFPB issued its annual report to Congress on Fair Lending, in which CFPB Acting Director David Uejio writes “although the true severity of the economic impacts of COVID-19 are just starting to be understood, it is clear that the pandemic is exacerbating racial inequality in all markets, including rising housing insecurity among the most vulnerable consumers.”
- The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision published two climate-related reports this week, one on climate risk drivers and one on measurements and methodologies.