After reviewing the licensing/chartering/approval structures that DFS uses for entities seeking to engage in virtual currency activities, we discuss the role of guidance in DFS’s regulation and oversight of virtual currency, particularly new DFS guidance on digital asset custody practices and DFS expectations for how entities acting as digital asset custodians can better protect customers in the event of an insolvency or similar proceeding. … Continue Reading

On January 23, 2023, the New York Department of Financial Services released guidance with the stated goal of helping to protect customers of virtual currency businesses in the event of an insolvency or similar proceeding by imposing new custody and disclosure requirements on virtual currency entities that act as custodians.  Specifically, the guidance focuses on four areas for virtual currency entities acting as custodians (or “VCE Custodians”):

  • Segregation of and Separate Accounting for Customer Virtual Currency: A VCE Custodian is expected to (1) separately account for and segregate customer virtual currency from the corporate assets of the VCE Custodian and its affiliated entities, both on-chain and on the VCE Custodian’s internal ledger accounts; (2) avoid comingling customer virtual currency with any of the VCE Custodian’s own virtual currency or with any other non-customer virtual currency; and (3) clearly and prominently disclose the manner in which the VCE Custodian segregates and accounts for customer virtual currency. 
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The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) recently issued proposed guidance (Guidance) related to climate change that applies to New York State-regulated banking organizations, New York State-licensed branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations, and New York State-regulated mortgage bankers and servicers.  The Guidance is intended to address “material financial risks related to climate change” faced by covered entities in the context of “risk assessment, risk management, and risk appetite setting.”  … Continue Reading

On December 15, 2022, the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) published an Industry Letter detailing the Department’s guidance regarding banking organizations that wish to engage in virtual currency-related activities.  In addition to reminding banks, trust companies, private bankers, savings banks, safe deposit companies, savings and loan associations, credit unions, investment companies, branches, and agencies of foreign banking organizations licensed by the NYDFS (together, “Banking Organizations”) of their preexisting obligation to seek approval from the NYDFS before engaging in new or significantly different virtual currency-related activity in New York or with a New York resident, the guidance describes the process and types of information that the NYDFS considers in connection with its approval process.… Continue Reading

On December 22, 2021, New York State Senate Bill 2767A was signed into law. The Bill establishes the Private Student Loan Refinancing Task Force (the “Task Force”), which was charged with “study[ing] and analyz[ing] ways lending institutions that offer non-federal student loans to students of New York institutions of higher education can be incentivized and encouraged to create student loan refinance programs.”… Continue Reading

Following up on a threat it made back in 2018, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced on October 6, 2022 that it entered into a consent order with Rhinebeck Bank (“Rhinebeck”) to settle discrimination claims involving discretionary dealer markups on retail installment contracts with minority borrowers.  Under the settlement, Rhinebeck will pay a $950,000 civil money penalty, provide restitution to borrowers, and develop a compliance plan which includes updates to its auto policies to cap dealer markups on installment contracts purchased by the bank.… Continue Reading

On July 29, 2022, the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) released Draft Amendments to its Cyber Security Regulations.  The Amendments, if adopted, would further regulatory trends and impose important new requirements on covered entities.

The Amendments contain three significant changes relating to ransomware.  First, the Amendment specifically adds “the deployment of ransomware within a material part of the covered entity’s information system” as a cybersecurity event requiring notice to the superintendent within 72 hours. … Continue Reading

Overdraft and NSF fees remain very much on the radar of the CFPB, the federal banking agencies, and certain state banking agencies.  The very fact that the CFPB continues to closely monitor bank call reports with respect to overdraft and NSF fee revenues demonstrates the Bureau’s ongoing focus on this issue. … Continue Reading

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued an Industry Letter providing guidance on overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees to depository institutions that it supervises.

The DFS indicates that, through the supervisory process, it has identified several unfair or deceptive acts or practices regarding the imposition of overdraft and NSF fees. … Continue Reading

Around the nation, regulators are preparing to implement and enforce new consumer-like disclosure laws for small business commercial finance providers.

New York regulators have yet to issue final regulations implementing the state’s Commercial Finance Disclosure Law (CFDL), which went into effect on January 1, 2022.  As we previously reported, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) advised that commercial finance providers’ obligations under the CFDL do not ripen until the NYDFS “issues final implementing regulations and those regulations take effect.” … Continue Reading