WBK Industry News - State Regulatory Developments

MA Division of Banks Sends COVID-19-Related Advisory to Licensees Regarding Continuity of Operations and Home-Based Mortgage Originations

The Massachusetts Division of Banks sent a recent message to its licensees with advice regarding business continuity and the delivery of financial services due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  It suggested guidelines for licensees to consider including (i) documenting the strategy for responding to a pandemic scaled to the stages of an outbreak, (ii) ensuring continuance of critical operations with a comprehensive framework of operations, including identification of systems and services needed to continue operations remotely, (iii) communicating plans with staff, service providers, customers, and regulators, (iv) educating employees on risk mitigation strategies, (v) testing pandemic planning practices and capabilities, and (vi) ensuring sufficient flexibility in the pandemic plan to address a range of possible effects that could result from a pandemic.

Additionally, in response to questions from licensees, the Division of Banks encouraged a “common sense” approach for licensed mortgage loan originators (MLOs) who are originating mortgages from home rather than from a licensed branch office.  MLO’s homes do not require branch licensure as long as they do not advertise the home as an office and do not meet consumers there.