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FDIC Provides Guidance on Loan Modifications & Workout Options for Borrowers Affected by COVID-19

On March 22, 2020, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) and other federal banking regulatory agencies, along with state banking regulators, the National Credit Union Administration Agency (NCUA), the regulator of credit unions, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued the Interagency Statement on Loan Modifications and Reporting by Financial Institutions Working with Customers Affected by the Coronavirus  to encourage financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers impacted by the disease and to provide additional information regarding loan modifications. In summary, the policies give lenders or bankers substantially more latitude to work with affected borrowers by softening the regulatory and accounting impact of having delinquent or restructured credit.

The Interagency Statement can be found here: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2020/fil20022.html?mc_cid=c19ae173ad&mc_eid=fabbc3a33b

As described in the Interagency Statement, the FDIC:

  • Encourages financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers affected by COVID-19;
  • Will not criticize institutions for prudent loan modifications and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize COVID-19-related loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs);
  • Confirmed with staff of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that short-term modifications made on a good faith basis for COVID-19 borrowers who were current prior to any COVID-19 relief are not TDRs;
  • Views that modification efforts described in the interagency statement for borrowers of one-to-four family residential mortgages where loans are prudently underwritten and not past due or carried in nonaccrual status do not result in loans being considered restructured or modified for the purpose of respective risk-based capital rules; and
  • Views prudent loan modification programs to financial institution customers affected by COVID-19 as positive actions that can effectively manage or mitigate adverse impacts on borrowers due to COVID-19, and lead to improved loan performance and reduced credit risk.

Borrowers, lenders, and other businesses should open early candid lines of communication with one another to negotiate forbearance agreements, extensions, refinancing, restructuring or other related relief. These arrangements must be documented and BMD attorneys can help you with this loan modification or workout process. 

For Ohio Businesses impacted by COVID-19, there are low-interest loans available to businesses in all Ohio counties. SBA low-interest federal disaster loans can provide up to $2 million of working capital to help Ohio business owners in overcoming temporary losses of revenue they are experiencing as a result of COVID 19. The assistance may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to economic impacts. These loans are available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the coronavirus.

The following are links to the SBA programs:

Additionally, you can talk to your banker. Be proactive. Let them know you are addressing the situation and/or applying for the SBA Loan and do so immediately. While many people may ordinarily avoid contacting their banker or creditors to talk about problems, under the Interagency Statement this is a safe time to do so because everyone is experiencing the same problems.

The state of Ohio has also provided unemployment benefits for Ohio individuals impacted by COVID-19. You can access information about these benefits with the following links: Coronavirus and Unemployment Benefits Questions and Answers at: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI/ and/or the https://unemployment.ohio.gov/.

Please contact BMD Bankruptcy Member Michael Steel at masteel@bmdllc.com or 330.374.7471, or Bankruptcy Partner Duriya Dhinojwala at dd@bmdllc.com or 330.253.5790 for further information.

Lockdowns, Landlords, & Litigation: Abercrombie & Fitch Flips The Script on Simon Property Group Inc.

Novel litigation between commercial property owners and tenants arises from COVID-19 lockdowns. Typically, owners sue for nonpayment of rent. But in Franklin County, Ohio, a large retail tenant turned the tables and sued the owner to recoup payments.

UPDATE: Ohio Businesses Remain Required to Post Exceptions to State-Wide Mask Mandate at All Entrances

On August 1, 2020, Lance D. Himes, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued an amended order continuing the requirement that Ohio businesses post at all entrances any permitted exceptions they provide to customers, patrons, visitors, contractors, vendors and similar individuals to use facial coverings.

2020 Marcum National Construction Survey Marks a New, Post-Pandemic Construction Environment

The results of the 2020 Marcum National Construction Survey are in, and the construction industry’s outlook for the remainder of 2020 and beginning of 2021 remains cautiously optimistic despite the COVID-19 global pandemic. Ability to find skilled labor, healthcare expenses, and material costs remain the top concerns for the industry, while “lack of future work” joins the list.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in the Wake of COVID-19

Several major “essential business” employers, including Walmart and Tyson, have been served with wrongful death lawsuits in relation to COVID-19. As many Ohio employees begin to return to work, employers should be prudent in following workplace safety practices.

We are Working in a Virtual, Video-Conferencing World – But What About Wiretapping?

Businesses and other organizations often have a need or desire to record telephone conversations related to their business interests and customer dealings; however, this practice is not always permissible as federal and state laws vary on this issue. Knowing and understanding your jurisdiction’s rules and regulations on this practice is essential to remaining in compliance with the law.