ACA International continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation on behalf of its members to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date guidance and information to help you adapt to various, and often swift, changes. We are here for you.

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Small Business Administration Resources for CARES Act Loans

BREAKING NEWS: The U.S. Small Business Administration released guidance about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including a sample application accessible here. A fact sheet released by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Lenders will begin processing PPP loan applications on Friday, April 3, 2020. Although the program will accept applications until June 30, 2020, most experts anticipate that the $349 billion fund will be exhausted quickly. ACA’s “Daily Huddle” on Thursday (4/2/2020) at 11am will discuss SBA assistance so that members can be ready to apply on Friday. 

Contact Congress on Behalf of the Industry Today

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Daily Federal Updates

Letters to White House, Congress, and Regulators

To Search for a word on a Webpage press Ctrl+F (Windows) or ⌘ Command+F (Mac). This will open the "Find" box in most web browsers. If you're using a mobile browser, the Find command is usually in the browser's menu. It may be called "Find in Page".

COVID-19: Licensing Guidance from State Agencies

Updates on state guidance on compliance and licensing.
COVID-19: Licensing Guidance from State Agencies

ACA International is dedicated to providing members with resources on managing business operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency and going forward.

The Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) has created a webpage for communication and guidance updates from state licensing agencies as they are released. A link to state agency contacts is also available.

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors also has similar helpful COVID-19 updates on its website.

North American Collection Agency Regulatory Association (NACARA) is providing the following information and guidance for financial services companies and consumers.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has also issued guidance on essential critical infrastructure many states are following in their orders.

Following are additional updates from state regulatory agencies obtained by ACA's Vice President of Government and State Affairs Andy Madden:

Alabama Stay-at-Home Order and Guidance for Businesses

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Scott Harris have issued an order for Alabama residents to stay at home. The order will remain in effect until 5 p.m. on April 30.

Essential services are defined as federally-designated critical infrastructure, workers and related industries identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its "Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response."

This includes: financial services, including banks and related financial institutions, credit unions, payday lenders, businesses that process credit card and other financial transactions, and other services related to financial markets; and professional Services, including legal services, accounting services, insurance services, real estate services (including appraisal and title services.

Arizona Department of Financial Institutions: Licensing Division (Home Page)

Arizona Gov. Douglas A. Ducey on Monday issued a “Stay home, Stay healthy, Stay connected” policy effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Under the policy, all individuals in the state of Arizona are asked to limit their time away from their residence except:

  • To conduct or participate in essential activities,
  • For employment, to volunteer or participate in essential functions,
  • To utilize any services or products provided by essential businesses,
  • Employment, if as a sole proprietor or family owned business, work is conducted in a separate office space from your home and the business is not open to serve the public.
  • No person shall be required to provide documentation or proof of their activities to justify their activities under this order.

Non-essential businesses may continue to operate activities that do not require in-person or on-site transactions, the policy statement said.

Essential Businesses and Operations: includes but is not limited to Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions and Essential Infrastructure Operations as well as the following:

vii.) Financial. institutions: Banks, currency exchanges, consumer lenders, including but not limited to payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment Lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers1 title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions and institutions selling financial products.

California Stay at Home Order

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a stay-at-home order requiring all Californians to stay in their place of residence “except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.

In short, this means non-essential businesses, including collection agencies, must close brick-and-mortar operations. Remote work, however, can continue—meaning that businesses may continue to operate with their staff telecommuting.

As a result, collections operations in California may continue with staff working remotely, from their place of residence, but agencies should be mindful of the challenges that telecommuting may impose under other state and federal laws, e.g., the FDCPA (for all third-party collectors), HIPAA (for medical debt collectors), and the CCPA (for those subject to it).

Colorado Attorney General (Home Page)

UPDATE: Gov. Jared Polis announced that he has issued an amended statewide stay-at-home order now in effect through April 26. Essential businesses in the financial institutions category include banks and credit institutions, insurance, payroll, and accounting services, and services related to financial markets. Underlying rules and regulations had no mention of a brick and mortar location requirement. This is strictly to clarify that there is no prohibition listed in our statutes for someone to work remotely. Members should seek advice from counsel before proceeding with working remotely. 

Connecticut Department of Banking (Home Page)

The governor is directing all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in Connecticut to prohibit all in-person functions if they are able to, effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8 p.m. The governor is encouraging all businesses to employ, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures that they can safely implement. View the Department of Banking's memo and the governor's executive order.

Delaware Division of Small Business (Home Page)

On Sunday, March 22, Delaware Gov. John Carney issued modifications to his State of Emergency, ordering residents to stay home whenever possible and closing all non-essential businesses in response to COVID-19. Non-essential businesses can conduct the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to work remotely or continue to work remotely from their residences.

Any agencies able to establish remote work options or with existing remote work options in place should be mindful of the challenges that telecommuting may impose under other state and federal laws, e.g., the FDCPA (for all third-party collectors), HIPAA (for medical debt collectors.) View the stay at home order, as well as a list of non-essential businesses and FAQ from the governor’s office for more information.

Also, the state issued guidance to businesses on COVID-19 including reviewing telework and flexible sick leave policies.

District of Columbia, Mayor's Office (Home Page)

Prohibition on Mass Gatherings During Public Health EmergencyFor more information on the District’s response, visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/ Update: On March 30, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a stay-at-home-order for the District of Columbia. An order closing non-essential businesses is also in effect through April 24, 2020.

Florida Office of the Governor (Home Page)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay at home order effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 3 until midnight on April 30, 2020.

For purposes of this order and the conduct it limits, “essential services” to the list detailed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce and any subsequent lists published.

Essential services also include those businesses and activities designated by Executive Order 20-89 and its attachment which consists of a list propounded by Miami-Dade County in multiple orders. Order 20-89 includes banks and related financial institutions.

Georgia Stay at Home Order and Guidance for Businesses

Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statewide shelter-at-home order that will remain in effect until April 13, 2020.

The term "Critical Infrastructure" refers to businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profit corporations, and organizations as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as "essential critical infrastructure workforce" in guidance dated March 19, 2020, and revised on March 28, 2020, and those suppliers which provide essential goods and services to the critical infrastructure workforce as well as entities that provide legal services, home hospice, and non-profit corporations or non-profit organizations that offer food distribution or other health or mental health services. The operation of Critical Infrastructure shall not be impeded by county, municipal, or local ordinance.

Hawaii Office of the Governor (Home Page)

Effective March 25 through April 30, everyone in the state of Hawaii is required to stay at home or in their place of residence based on an order from Gov. David Ige.

Under the proclamation, individuals may leave their home or place of residence only for essential activities, to engage in essential businesses and operations, and only if their work cannot be conducted through remote technology from home.

All businesses or operations not identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as "essential critical infrastructure workforce" must cease.

Idaho Stay at Home Order and Business Guidance

The state has ordered residents to self-isolate. The isolation order requires Idaho residents to stay and work from home as much as possible while ensuring all essential services and business remain available. The isolation order identifies the essential services and businesses that will remain open, including grocery stores, health care facilities, all utilities, gas stations, financial institutions.

These institutions include: banks, credit unions, and financial institutions, including processing and maintaining systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g., payment clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital markets activities).

Illinois Office of the Governor (Home Page)

UPDATE: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzer issued an executive order on non-essential business operations now in effect through April 30, 2020. ACA International has confirmed that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – Division of Financial Institutions guidance for licensed entities in applies to all licensed agencies, not just those located within state.

Companies with individual agents working remotely under Gov. Pritzker’s executive order and guidance from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are now required to notify the state. If an individual agent is working remotely and the brick and mortar location is not changing, the collection agency should send an e-mail with the employee name and location to fpr.professionalservicesmail@illinois.gov. The subject line should list "Collection Agency – Remote Work COVID." The collection agency will need to email the agency name and 017 license number followed by the list of collectors and their addresses where they are working remotely. 

While non-essential business and operation must cease, businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors working from home. Agencies should be mindful of the challenges that telecommuting may impose under other state and federal laws, e.g., the FDCPA (for all third-party collectors), HIPAA (for medical debt collectors.) The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) of the Supreme Court of Illinois also issued COVID-19 guidance for legal services agencies that the accounts receivable management industry may also find helpful.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – Division of Financial Institutions announced new guidance to its regulated entities, including student loan servicers and collection agencies, encouraging debt collectors and debt buyers to work with consumers to accommodate hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis, including to suspend collection activity for a period of at least 60 days, according to a news release.

Additional guidance to licensed entities states although licensed collection agencies and debt buyers operating in Illinois are not listed as essential businesses under Gov. Pritzker’s executive stay-at-home order, non-essential businesses are allowed to continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences.

Thus, debt collection agencies seeking to work at a location other than their address of record, including remotely, are hereby directed to provide the department notice within 14 days of any address changes.

Student loan servicers licensed in Illinois are encouraged by the Division of Financial Institutions to "make prudent efforts to meet the financial needs of all student loan borrowers affected directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic" following passage of H.R. 748 (the CARES Act), which codifies additional relief for federal student loan borrowers who have loans held by the U.S. Department of Education.

Indiana Governor Executive Order

UPDATE: The Indiana Secretary of State issued remote worker guidance to all loan brokers, collection agencies, and employees licensed with the Indiana Securities Division.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb issued an executive order for residents to stay in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities. The order is in effect from March 25 to May 5. Find more information on essential activities and workplaces here.

The order, on page 6, lists "Financial and Insurance Institutions," as essential. It is defined as: ‘Banks, unions, currency pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, title companies, appraisers, financial markets, trading and future exchanges, payday lenders, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products. Also, insurance companies, underwriters, agents, brokers, and related insurance claims and agency services.’

Additionally, on page 7, some professional services are addressed as essential, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, and real estate services (including appraisal and title services).

The Indiana COVID-19 Business Response Team is urging Indiana businesses to consult with their legal teams on their compliance with the executive order, as applicable, and to strongly consider their ability to operate while adhering to social distancing requirements and generally supporting the ‘Stay at Home’ mandate.

Along with the covernor’s executive order, businesses should also abide by any orders or mandates established by local governments. Essential businesses should continue to maintain best practices or implement policies in the workplace as recommended by the CDC.

Iowa Division of Banking (Home Page)

Regulatory Guidance for Working from Residence or Other Company Designated Location

Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner (Home Page)

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a Stay at Home Order directing all individuals within the state of Kansas to stay in their homes or residences unless performing an essential activity.

Essential functions include:

Provide Capital Markets and Investment Activities (Perform accounting services); Provide Consumer and Commercial Banking Services; Provide Funding and Liquidity Services; Provide Payment, Clearing and Settlement Services; and Support Community Health and Mental Health Services.

Guidance for licensees, registrants, and their employees to allow the flexibility to work remotely.

Kentucky Stay at Home Order and Business Guidance

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency and encourages residents to remain Healthy at Home. This order shall be in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency herein referenced, or until this Executive Order is rescinded. For the purposes of order life-sustaining businesses include all businesses operating in the federal critical infrastructure sectors.

Financial Services included in the infrastructure notice are: Depository institutions, including but not limited to banks and credit unions; Non-depository institutions, including but not limited to consumer, industrial and mortgage loan companies, mortgage loan brokers, originators and processors, deferred deposit, check cashers, and payday lending companies, title pledge lenders, and money transmitters; securities institutions, including but not limited to brokers, agents, advisers and issuers; appraisers, financial markets, bond issuers, or institutions selling financial products to the extent they are providing financial services; and pawnbrokers, to the extent they are providing check-cashing or similar financial services.

Louisiana Stay at Home Order and Business Guidance

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide Stay at Home order in effect through Sunday, April 12.

Financial services considered essential and covered by guidance from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency CISA include:

  • Workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g. payment, clearing and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital market activities.)
  • Workers who support financial operations, such as those staffing data and security operations centers.

Any business not covered by the guidance from the CISA discussed in section three of the order and not ordered to temporarily close must reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing, adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size. 

Maine Guidance for Businesses

Gov. Janet Mills announced a "Stay Healthy at Home" directive that will go in effect April 2 and will last until at least April 30.

Essential businesses and operations are those identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.

Workers of non-essential businesses and operations under Executive Orders 19 FY 19/20 may travel between their homes and those non-essential businesses for the purpose of engaging in minimal operations.

Maryland Guidance for Businesses

UPDATE: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an order for financial relief initiatives for consumers and small businesses April 3.

The governor’s financial relief order prohibits mortgage lenders from initiating the foreclosure process. The program includes up to a 90-day period of forbearance and deferral on mortgages. During this period, no late fees will be charged and there will be no negative reporting to credit bureaus. During a press conference on the initiatives, Gov. Hogan also mentioned that the state would be suspending their internal executive agency debt collection activity. 

Gov. Hogan also issued a stay-at-home-order in effect March 30. Residents are directed to stay home unless they need to a report to an essential job or leave for an essential reason. Non-essential businesses must scale back operations and allow telework options as much as possible. The order follows the memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for defining non-essential businesses, however does have a section regarding minimal operations that may be helpful to members:

Staff and owners may continue to be on-site at Non-Essential Businesses for only the following purposes ("Minimal Operations"):

  • Facilitating remote working (a/k/a/ telework) by other staff;
  • Maintaining essential property;
  • Preventing loss of, or damage to property, including without limitation, preventing spoilage of perishable inventory;
  • Performing essential administrative functions, including without limitation, picking up mail and processing payroll;
  • Caring for live animals; and vi. In the case of Non-Essential Businesses that are retail establishments, continuing to sell retail products on a delivery basis.

Massachusetts Division of Banks (Home Page)

 UPDATE: The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office issued guidance in response to frequently asked questions on its emergency addendum to regulations temporarily restricting debt collection calls

Gov. Charlie Baker has extended the state's emergency order on essential and non-essential businesses until May 4, 2020. You can read the governor’s press release with additional updates here.

The Massachusetts Division of Banks also provided further guidance regarding temporarily closing a location due to the COVID-19 virus, as well as regulator notification protocols. The Division notes that all entities chartered and licensed by the Division are covered by the essential services list and therefore exempt from Gov. Baker’s March 23. declaration. Businesses and other organizations that provide essential services are urged to continue operations during the state of emergency, but to do so consistent with social distancing protocols. On March 25, the Massachusetts Division of Banks issued guidance to financial Institutions, mortgage lenders, and mortgage loan servicers regarding support for mortgage loan borrowers impacted by COVID-19.

The Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed an emergency addendum to regulations temporarily restricting debt collection calls. View answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the addendum complied by ACA International here.

The Division of Banks issued a notice regarding the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System deadline extensions and new report due dates in an effort to provide flexibility and reduce the regulatory burden to licensees. The annual report deadline for debt collectors is now May 30, 2020. NMLS also issued a 30-day extension to all Massachusetts licensees to submit call reports and the MCR Standard Financial Condition Report.

The latest information and guidance regarding COVID-19 is always available at mass.gov/COVID19. Reminder to licensees on business continuity plans.

Michigan “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order

Gov. Gretchen Whittmer is directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order also directs Michigan residents to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  This is in effect March 24 for at least the next three weeks. Implementing temporarily teleworking while the current state of emergency is in effect is a reasonable consideration as long as you are able to maintain proper personal supervision such as regular communication via telephone, video, etc. For up to date information on COVID-19 and learn more about how to prevent the spread of the virus, please visit www.michigan.gov/Coronavirus and reference the Michigan Occupational Code Sec. 908 (1) for more definitions that apply to the industry.

Minnesota Department of Commerce (Home Page)

UPDATE: Executive Order 20-20 allows for the list of Critical Sectors to be clarified, as deemed necessary by the Governor, to ensure the health, safety and security of all Minnesotans. A Clarification was added March 27, 2020: stating debt collection professionals and other workers supporting debt collection are not exempted. 

Because of the concerns surrounding the transmission of COVID-19, the department has decided to not take action against any licensee who allows their individual registered collectors to temporarily work from home as a precautionary measure. This decision is effective immediately through April 30, 2020. View the department’s notice for more information on criteria for the temporary policy. Gov. Tim Walz issued a stay-at-home order in effect through at least April 10. Financial services that are essential include workers at banks, credit unions, insurance companies, insurance agencies, and other financial services workers identified in the CISA Guidance.

Missouri Stay at Home Order and Guidance for Businesses

The state of Missouri has issued a statewide Stay Home Order in effect until Friday, April 24.

The essential worker functions are set forth in guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. For offices and workplaces that remain open, where feasible, individuals should work from home.

Montana Stay at Home Order and Guidance for Businesses

The Montana Secretary of State is waiving late fees on business registrations due by April 15. This applies to agencies that hold a Certificate of Authority in Montana. Between now and July 15, the Secretary of State’s office will not be charging an extra fee for late filers. Those fees usually those fees begin April 16.

Gov. Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home order with requirements for essential businesses and operations. Financial and real estate services and institutions identified as essential in the order include: banks, consumer lenders, including but not limited, to pawnbrokers, accountants, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, realtors or others providing real estate services, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products.

Nevada Financial Institutions Division (Home Page)

**New Clarification 3/21/20 6:00 PM EDT**

Nevada Financial Institutions Division Halts Collection from Out-of-State Licensees

Gov. Steve Sisolak has extended the state’s Stay at Home order and all other directives under the State Emergency Declaration, including the school, nonessential business & gaming closures until April 30, 2020.

The Financial Institutions Division provided the following clarification on the governor's directive:

From the Governors Directive

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and related concerns pertaining to person-to-person or community spread of the virus, Gov. Sisolak is mandating, through an emergency directive, all non-essential businesses to close as a proactive measure to fight spread of the coronavirus. Only essential businesses shall remain open. This new mandatory emergency directive is effective midnight tonight until April 30, 2020, unless otherwise modified or withdrawn by Gov. Sisolak.

Clarification from the Financial Institutions Division:

Based upon the above, a collection agency is deemed a non-essential business at this time. Accordingly, the Nevada Financial Institutions Division must enforce the Governor’s mandatory emergency directive and direct all collection agencies holding a license under Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 649 and located in this state to close until April 30, 2020, unless otherwise modified or withdrawn by Gov. Sisolak. All collection agencies holding a license or certificate under Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 649 and located out-of-state must cease collection efforts with Nevada consumers/residents effective midnight tonight until April 30, unless otherwise modified or withdrawn by Gov. Sisolak.

Are non-collection activities that can be performed remotely allowed? "This should be okay".

Can agencies process payments that come in voluntarily? Yes, if the consumer initiates the communication/payment and they want to pay and/or have the ability to do so".

State of New Jersey (Home Page)

State of New Jersey Issues stay-at-home order and closure of non-essential businesses. 

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 107, directing all residents to stay at home until further notice. The order provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work, or engaging in outdoor activities.  For additional information on COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus and its impact on businesses, please visit the State of New Jersey business portal at https://cv.business.nj.gov.

New Hampshire Guidance for Businesses

Under New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s stay at home order, all businesses and other organizations that do not provide essential services shall close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public and cease all in person operations and shall not re-open to workers, customers or the public or resume in person operations before 12:01 a.m. on May 4, 2020.

Essential services include: Financial Services · Banks, financial services institutions, credit unions, insurance, payroll, regional development corporations, and accounting services · Workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g., payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital markets activities) · Workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers) · Workers who support financial operations, such as those staffing data and security operations centers.

New Mexico Secretary of Health (Home Page)

UPDATE: The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department has issued Temporary Regulatory Guidance regarding Work from Home  due to COVID-19 concerns.

The New Mexico Financial Institutions Division issued a directive stating that all businesses licensed and regulated by the financial institutions division are considered "Essential" businesses under the health department guidelines and are allowed to remain open. An order issued by Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel and effective March 24 closes all non-essential businesses, requiring 100 percent of the state’s non-essential workforce to work from home.

New York Attorney General (Home Page)

The attorney general and governor suspended collections of medical, student and some other state-owed debt for at least 30 days, until April 16, 2020. There may be an extension after that time. Read more from ACA here.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an updated executive order with requirements for employees of non-essential businesses to work or stay at home for an additional two weeks, through April 29, according to a news release. The order states that “all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely utilize. Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 75%. Any essential business or entity providing essential services or functions shall not be subject to the in-person restrictions.”

Unlike California and Pennsylvania, the New York order requires collection agencies to attempt to implement remote-work procedures “to the maximum extent possible.” But, again, agencies must be mindful of the provisions of other federal and state laws when implementing telecommuting collections procedures.

North Carolina Govenor (Home Page)

UPDATE: North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey issued an amended order requiring deferral of payments to help consumers affected by the COVID-19 health emergency. The amended order regarding the collection of debt and payment deferrals under NCS 58-2-46. The department subsequently issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) associated with the Commissioner’s Order.  

In addition, the Commissioner of Insurance has provided the following guidance: If a consumer contacts a debt collector concerning a payment, the debt collector should (1) advise the consumer that he or she may defer payments for 30 days, as per the statute [NCGS 58-2-46(2)], and (2) state that no fees would apply to this deferral of payment. The COI does not interpret the statute to impose an affirmative requirement to preemptively notify debtors of the waiver option, e.g., via a calling campaign or letter campaign. But debt collectors do have an obligation to offer the deferred payment to debtors when discussing payments with debtors.

The order states that compliance with the provisions North Carolina General Statute §58-2-46 is required of all insurance companies, premium finance companies, collection agencies, and other persons subject to North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 58.

Gov. Cooper issued a statewide stay at home order on March 30. The order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member or friend. The order also bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet apart from others.

Essential Businesses include: Financial and insurance institutions. Bank, currency exchanges, consumer lenders, including but not limited to, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products. They also include insurance companies, underwriters, agents, brokers, and related insurance claims and agency services institutions, and institutions selling financial products, insurance companies, underwriters, agents, brokers, and related insurance claims and agency services.

Gov. Cooper also ordered additional limitations on mass gatherings and a limited closure of some businesses. The order can be found here.

Counties and municipalities in North Carolina also issued stay at home orders. In Durham, essential Business include financial and insurance institutions. Banks, insurance companies, and financial institutions, where such services cannot be provided online or digitally, which is the preferred alternative, and provided said institutions observe and implement social distancing practices in the provision of in-person services. Individuals should only leave their homes for financial or insurance services if the need to access such services is of a critical or emergency nature. Financial service providers are strongly urged to make web-based or digital services available as a first option for clients.

Ohio Governor Issues Stay at Home Order (Home Page)

Ohio’s Gov. Mike DeWine and the state’s Department of Health issued a Stay at Home order with requirements for essential and non-essential businesses that is now extended until May 1, 2020. Members may refer to the following information for direction on essential businesses, which does include affiliates of financial institutions. (Emphasis added.)

  • Workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g., payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital markets activities)
  • Workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers)
  • Workers who support financial operations, such as those staffing data and security operations centers.

For clarity, according to the order, businesses, including home-based businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences, such as working from home.

Oklahoma Governor Issues Executive Order (Home Page)

Effective March 25 through April 16, 2020, all businesses not identified as being within a critical infrastructure sector as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and located in a county experiencing community spread of COVID-19, as identified by OSDH on its website, shall close, according to an executive order from Gov. Kevin Stitt. Additional sectors may be designated as critical by Executive Order or Memorandum.

Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (Home Page)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order with stay-at-home-requirements and for certain business closures. Businesses should facilitate temporary work from home or telework programs to the extent possible. The order is in effect until terminated by the governor. There is a temporary work from home authorization in place from the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation.

Pennsylvania Business Shut-Down Order

UPDATE: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine have extended Pennsylvania’s Stay-at-Home Order to the entire state. This amended order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until April 30, 2020. It supersedes all previous orders.

In March, Gov. Wolf issued a proclamation  requiring closure of “non-life-sustaining businesses." Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations began on Saturday, March 21.

The proclamation states: “No person or entity shall operate a place of business in the Commonwealth that is not a life sustaining business regardless of whether the business is open to members of the public. This prohibition does not apply to virtual or telework operations (e.g., work from home), so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed in such operations.”

Accordingly, as in California, it appears that collections operations in Pennsylvania may continue with staff working remotely, but agencies should be mindful of the challenges that telecommuting may impose under other state and federal laws.

View the list of essential businesses here. Information on the financial services sector is available on page 4. For additional information, click here.

Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (Home Page)

All Rhode Island residents are required to stay home unless traveling to work, traveling for medical treatment or obtaining necessities (food, medicine, gas, etc.). Any Rhode Island employer with employees who live in other states shall use all means available to enable these employees to telecommute or make other work from-home arrangements. This order will remain effect until April 13 unless renewed, modified, or terminated by a subsequent Executive Order. The state has not issued any specific guidance regarding having staff work from home for debt collectors during the COVID-19 situation, according to Rebecca Specht, assistant supervisor of examinations for the Rhode Island Division of Banking. The only guidance given is for the mortgage industry, available here.

South Carolina Stay at Home Order and Guidance for Businesses

An executive order has been issued by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster to close some non-essential businesses and businesses with close-contact services. The order is in place for 15 days. 

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (Home Page)

Gov. Bill Lee issued a statewide stay at home order that is in effect until April 14, 2020.

Essential personnel and services include personnel identified on pages 5-15 of the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response issued by the Cybersecurity and infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Financial institutions and insurance entities deemed essential includes, but are not limited to: banks, currency exchanges, consumer lenders, including but not limited to payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders, sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, institutions selling financial products, insurance companies, underwriters, insurance agents, insurance brokers, and related insurance claims and agency services.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance announced that “[t]he Statute and Rules have been reviewed and it has been determined there is no prohibition for remote work from home as long as a branch business location is still maintained, and the location is on record on your license file. Of course, it is expected that all collection activities will remain in accordance with applicable State and Federal requirements.”

Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (Home Page)

The collection agency board for Washington will be sending guidance to ACA, the Washington Collectors Association and stakeholders in the coming days. Gov. Jay Inslee announced a month-long extension of his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" emergency order through May 4, 2020. The original stay-at-home order states essential businesses are prohibited from operating under this Proclamation unless they establish and implement social distancing and sanitation measures established by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Coronavirus/workplace

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (Home Page)

The state of Wisconsin issued a stay at home order that will remain in effect until Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

Essential Businesses include: Financial institutions and services. Banks, credit unions, and other depository or lending institutions; licensed financial service providers; insurance services; personnel necessary to perform essential functions at broker dealers and investment advisor offices.

Both the statewide and Milwaukee Safer at Home Orders include licensed financial service providers in the list of essential businesses. Agencies licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions should be considered essential business under both orders, however agencies are encouraged to seek their own legal clarification and to use their best judgment when operating under this order.

Safer at Home Order and Business Guidance

City of Milwaukee Stay at Home Requirement

Virginia Governor's Office (Home Page)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has issued a stay at home order. The order goes into effect immediately and lasts until June 10. This restriction does not apply to the operation of businesses not required to close to the public under Executive Order 53. Essential business include banks and other financial institutions with retail functions.

West Virginia Governor's Office (Home Page)

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice issued a stay-at-home order and guidance on essential and non-essential businesses. Under essential businesses it exempts professional debt collectors. Essential Businesses and Operations, as described below, shall remain open, and individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or to perform any work necessary to offer, provision, supply, operate, maintain, and/or repair Essential Businesses and Operations.

Wyoming Department of Audit (Home Page)

The department will be issuing a short memo on its website and to contacts from the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System. State regulations do not prevent licensees and collectors from teleworking, etc., but there are things they can't do such as print information from NMLS, etc. Additional guidance in a memo from the department’s chairman and attorney will be available soon.

This article will be updated regularly with timely information and remain on ACA’s home page. A notice will be published in ACA Daily when the article is updated.

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org or call (952) 926-6547.



Please check back often for updates to this page.

Daily Huddle Recordings

The following sources of information are available from ACA and government organizations charged with providing guidance on specifics of COVID-19 from a public health and business perspective. ACA will update its available resources as needed to provide members the most current information and provide notification through an email alert and/or in ACA Daily.

Both the Federal and State Governments are discussing or enacting legislation and regulations that will impact both collection activity and business operations of our member agencies. ACA's advocacy and compliance teams are tracking all of this activity and will provide members with an update on the current landscape for receivables businesses. ACA CEO Mark Neeb, Corporate Counsel Colin Winkler, Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey, and Vice President State Government and Unit Affairs Andrew Madden will lead this webinar for members.

Resources from ACA International


SBA Sample Borrower Paycheck Protection Program Application

Cordatis LLP's Memo For ACA International

Hot Topic Webinar Recording: State of the Industry - An Advocacy and Regulatory Update in Relation to COVID-19

New on The Hub: COVID-19: Community Conversation for Members

News from Washington: COVID-19 Legislative and Regulatory Updates: 
How ACA's advocacy team is working with legislators and regulators on Capitol Hill. Editor's note: This article is for members only.

Working from Home? Cybersecurity and Compliance Tips to Consider

ACA International has insurance, compliance and educational resources to help members take preventative action.

Creating a New Sound Pandemic Response Plan

There is a lot of information circulating about emergency preparedness in the last few weeks; and it may be overwhelming. ACA International member Chris Meier provides a key tip: communicate, communicate, communicate.

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org or call (952) 926-6547. Member Services is also available at memberservices@acainternational.org or 800-269-1607.

Government, Compliance and Regulatory


U.S. Small Business Administration: Small Business Loan Guidance and Resources

BREAKING NEWS: The U.S. Small Business Administration released guidance about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including a sample application accessible here. A fact sheet released by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Lenders will begin processing PPP loan applications on Friday, April 3, 2020. Although the program will accept applications until June 30, 2020, most experts anticipate that the $349 billion fund will be exhausted quickly. ACA’s “Daily Huddle” on Thursday (4/2/2020) at 11am will discuss SBA assistance so that members can be ready to apply on Friday. 

Conference of State Bank Supervisors

CSBS has compiled state and federal resources to keep regulators, consumers and the industry better-informed about the COVID-19 pandemic, including a county-level map of confirmed cases, a glossary of state declarations of emergency, state agency nonbank guidance and more.

Nationwide Multistate Licensing System

As the Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation develops and state agencies send communication/guidance to licensees, information will be shared on this page.

​View this resource for the latest information we have received from state agencies. Check back often for updates. ​ACA International will be monitoring this page to provide updates directly to members.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guidelines to follow if you think you may be sick and to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The CFPB also released a blog offering financial tips while federal, state and local governments work to respond to the coronavirus. The CFPB blog includes suggestions for addressing outstanding debts . If you have a debt in collections, contact your creditor or the collection agency for options to set up a reasonable payment plan.

Now is not the time to limit communications with consumers. The ARM industry is uniquely qualified to deal with the cascading financial impacts of the novel coronavirus. Collectors have extensive training to help consumers navigate complex financial matters. With hardship programs in place, our industry is prepared to guide consumers – using empathy, compassion and respect – to the best arrangements that fit their financial situation. We need to let Congress know about the incredible work being done by the ARM industry to keep our economy churning. But more than that, we need to let Congress know that banning the work of our industry, puts the livelihood of nearly 230,000 people at risk.

Congress Needs to Hear Why Collections is Vital

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