Texas OCCC issues advisory bulletin to licensees on how to remain in compliance while dealing with Harvey aftermath

by The CAB Man Texas on September 8, 2017

Our friend ROb Norcross at CSAT sent over some really good details that he had gathered in response to the OCCC issuing advisory bulletins to licensees on how to remain in compliance while dealing with Harvey aftermath.  I scraped some of those details and organized them below for CAB stakeholders in Texas, and business owners in general that were affected by Harvey.

CAB Consulting and TOFSC have clients and Members in the Coastal region and many were impacted – see below!

“The Texas Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner issued an advisory bulletin reminding pawn shops of their obligations in statute and rule about safeguarding pledged goods, record retention requirements and relocating to temporary locations (see link in the email below). 

There are no similar provisions in Texas Finance Code Chapter 393 for credit access businesses. Sections 83.308 (b) and (c) in Title 7, Part 5 of the Texas Administrative Code addresses the relocation of transactions from one store to the other Section (c). Section (b) contains the notice requirements for customers and to the OCCC. Section (c) also provides for a waiver of the 5 day notice period by the Commissioner in cases of emergency. 

If one of your stores is damaged, and you choose to send customers to other nearby stores, please take care to follow these procedures. The provisions of your contracts with your customers will govern issues related to due dates, fee calculations, etc. 

The Code prohibits the relocation of a CAB store unless 30 days’ notice is given to the OCCC. There is no waiver provision for an emergency. However, if one of your stores — that is not near another store — is damaged, please contact the OCCC if a temporary location is the only reasonable solution to protect your customers. Despite the absence of a waiver provision in the statute, the OCCC has made reasonable accommodations to protect consumers with all types of licensees in the case of emergency. 

County Sheriff’s Office

If one of your employees has a question about local hurricane relief activities, law enforcement procedures during/after a hurricane, customers applying for federal assistance, shelter availability, etc., please do not hesitate to contact the local county sheriff’s department. Sheriff’s offices are a critical source of information during disaster recovery efforts. They are trained to navigate the varying levels and overlaps of local, state and federal bureaucracy and often serve as a counties’ switchboard during disaster recovery.

Do not spend hours on the telephone being transferred from FEMA official to FEMA official — call your local county sheriff’s office. They will (literally) tell you where to go…

 IRS Extends Filing Deadlines for Hurricane Harvey Victims

The Internal Revenue Service is giving Hurricane Harvey victims extra time to file individual and business tax returns and to make certain tax payments in 18 Texas counties because of the “devastating storm.” Businesses and individuals affected by making quarterly estimated tax payments on September 15th and January 16th now have until January 31st to file tax returns and pay taxes that were during those times. 

Vehicle Titling and Registration Requirements Suspended 

Texas residents in counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey will not have to worry about vehicle titling and registration requirements for the next 45 days. Governor Greg Abbott suspended certain statutes related to the enforcement of title and registration laws in the 58 counties included in the state’s disaster declaration. 

Customer Inquiries to the OCCC

We are working closely with the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner to help them process questions received from customers efficiently. Every CAB transaction contract, and most disclosures, include the name, telephone number, and the email address of the OCCC. 

Every time a consumer makes a complaint to the OCCC, the agency is required to open a file, contact the consumer, contact the CAB/lender, make a determination about a resolution for the complaint, and notify both parties in writing before closing the file.

However, after natural disasters, the agency typically receives questions from consumers in addition to complaints. If your company would like to designate a point person to address questions the OCCC may receive from your customers, please let me know. 

We will give the OCCC the name, telephone number and email address of your designee so the OCCC can refer questions directly to you. We want to give the OCCC every incentive to treat as many inquiries as questions, and not complaints (and staff prefers to open as few complaint files as possible). 

Texas Association of Business Hotline

TAB has established a hotline for businesses to connect to the resources they need as rebuilding begins. The hotline number is 512-637-7714. The hotline is available to all businesses. It is not limited to TAB members. You can also sign up to provide services as rebuilding begins in southeast Texas. For more information, visit: www.texbiz.org/2017/08/25/hurricane-harvey/.”

This blog post was written by Michael Brown, President of CAB Consulting and the Texas Organization of Financial Service Centers.  He can be reached at 214-293-8676, or Michael@CreditAccessBusiness.com.

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