Posted by Chris Alarie on Mon, 05/18/2020 - 10:41
Last Friday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce issued Regulatory Guidance 20-27 clarifying remote work procedures for the debt collection industry and extending that guidance to cover Governor Tim Walz’s extension of the state’s COVID-19 peacetime emergency declaration.
Governor Walz initially declared a peacetime emergency due to the COVID-19 crisis on March 13, 2020. On March 25, he issued a Stay Home order, directing all businesses—besides those in Critical Sectors—to work from home. This work-from-home direction included the debt collection industry, even though many debt collectors’ homes are not licensed as branch offices. Friday’s Regulatory Guidance exempts these licensing requirements for debt collectors working from home provided that they meet the following conditions:
1) The activity is conducted from the home location of an individual working on behalf of a Minnesota licensee;
2) The individual is working from home due to a reason relating to the COVID‐19 outbreak and has informed the licensee of such reason.
3) None of the activity will be conducted in person with members of the public from the home location; and
4) The licensee shall, at all times, exercise supervision of the activity being performed at the home office and ensure that appropriate safeguards and controls are in place to protect consumer information and data.
Governor Walz recently extended the peacetime emergency through June 12, 2020, the second such extension. As a result, the Department of Commerce’s Regulatory Guidance lasts until 30 days after the expiration of the peacetime emergency or until August 30, 2020, whichever is later.