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COVID-19: Federal Bank Regulators Scramble to Issue Waivers and Guidance

As state, federal, and local governments impose ever-greater limitations on business activities and mobility in order to lessen the spread of the coronavirus, the strain on the US economy has grown exponentially. Over the past several weeks, the stock market has tumbled, unemployment has grown, and many businesses are choosing to layoff workers or shut their doors – temporarily, or for good. To address this economic crisis, Congress has been working overtime on several economic stimulus packages, and state and local governments have developed loan and unemployment packages to help workers and small businesses.

On the federal level, bank regulatory agencies have also been busy waiving rules and issuing guidance to financial institutions to forestall foreclosures, enhance liquidity, and shore up government bonds. Here are a few of the key actions being taken.

  • FDIC issues statement emphasizing safety of deposits, COVID-19 resources for banks (FDIC 3.26.20)
  • Federal bank agencies encourage small dollar lending to consumers and small businesses (FIL 3.26.20)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency identifies financial services workers as “essential” (FIL 3.26.20)
  • Federal Reserve announces COVID-19 Relief Package (FRB 3.23.20)
  • Federal Reserve Issues Financial Rescue Package. (The New York Times 3.23.2020)
  • Federal Reserve Plan Includes Purchase of Government Debt. (BDN 3.23.2020)
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Allow up to 12-month break on mortgage payments. (Maine Public 3.20.2020)
  • Federal Housing Administration enacts 60 moratorium on foreclosures on FHA-backed mortgages. (FOX 3.19.2020)
  • FDIC, Fed, and OCC loosen definition of “eligible retained income” to help banks address COVID-19 challenges (FIL, 3.19.20)
  • Fed bank regulators launch “Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility” to enhance liquidity of money markets (FDIC 3.19.20)
  • Bank regulators issue Q&A to guide banks in using their capital and liquidity buffers in wake of COVID-19 crisis (FIL 3.17.20)
Topics: Agency Notices and Advisories, Current Events in Banking