Connecticut’s Banking Commissioner signed an order that permits individuals engaged in certain licensable activity on behalf of certain consumer credit licensees to work from remote office locations not licensed as branch office locations. The order, pursuant to the authority set forth in Section 205 of Senate Bill 1202 and available here, extends the previous no-action position of the Commissioner and is effective July 1, 2021.
The order applies to individuals working on behalf of persons licensed in Connecticut as:
- Consumer collection agencies;
- Debt adjusters;
- Debt negotiators;
- Mortgage brokers, mortgage correspondent lenders or mortgage lenders;
- Mortgage servicers;
- Sales finance companies;
- Small loan companies; and
- Student loan servicers.
Any residential or non-commercial location in the United States where an individual engages in authorized activity on behalf of a licensee, other than a location licensed as a main office or branch office as defined in Section 36a-485, may be considered a remote office location.
Any licensee that conducts business from a remote office location must conform to specified standards, including:
- Maintaining accurate records that identify the dates of authorized remote office activity, the location of each remote office, and the individuals authorized to conduct business at each such office;
- Implementing policies and procedures to ensure reasonable supervision over its remote office activities;
- Ensuring that no records of licensable activity are maintained at the remote office location;
- Ensuring that any individual working from the remote office location is licensed under Title 36a to conduct such remote office activity, as applicable;
- Not meeting with members of the public at such remote office location or holding such location out as an office to members of the public;
- For any licensed individual conducting business from a remote office location, designating a licensed branch office or main office location as the location of business on the system;
- Ensuring that consumer and licensee information and records remain accessible for regulatory oversight and examination; and
- Establishing safeguards concerning personal information and data security at the remote office location, consistent with existing requirements and applicable state and federal law, including but not limited to, utilizing a VPN or comparable system, and ensuring appropriate updates, patches, or other alternations to maintain the security of all devices used at remote locations.
Remote office activities must comply with all applicable requirements under state and federal law and remain subject to the Commissioner’s investigation and examination authority. The order states that, “[i]f at any time the Commissioner finds that any individual or licensee is violating the requirements of this order or other applicable laws or regulations, the Commissioner may restrict the ability of an individual or licensee to conduct activities from a remote office location pursuant to the provisions of Title 36a.” Presumably, this authority is in addition to any existing authorities already available to the Commissioner in connection with a violation of an order of the Commissioner or a violation of applicable law or regulation already set forth in Title 36a.
Jaeyoung Choi, a student at American University Law School and Ballard Spahr summer associate, contributed to this alert.
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