Legal Alert

Financial Services Sector a ‘Critical Infrastructure’ Amid CA ‘Shelter-in-Place’

March 20, 2020

As part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom of California issued a “stay home” or “shelter-in-place” order on March 19, 2020, via Executive Order N-33-20 (Order).

Pursuant to the Order, all California residents are directed to “stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”  Those sectors are identified in the Order based on what appears on the “Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19” web page.

The Financial Services Sector is identified as one of 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors by the DHS. “The Financial Services Sector includes thousands of depository institutions, providers of investment products, insurance companies, and other credit and financing organization, and the providers of the critical financial utilities and services that support these functions.” Mortgages and home equity lines of credit are specifically referenced in the Financial Services Sector-Specific Plan.

By excepting the DHS-defined Critical Infrastructure Sectors from the Order to “stay at home” or in place, the Governor of California has allowed the mortgage industry to continue its essential operations and continue to meet the needs of consumers. This will enable the mortgage economy to continue to function during the COVID-19 pandemic in California.

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