Amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus, states are acting fast to form some sort of continuity in business and life for both industry and consumers. insideARM reported earlier this week that some states were easing their licensing burdens for work-from-home collectors. New York has taken a different approach. Effective immediately, New York's Attorney General and Governor announced that they are suspending the collection of certain types of debts owed to the state (including medical and student loan debt) for at least thirty (30) days.
While this announcement only applies to debts owed to the State of New York, it important to closely pay attention to what is going on. The situation is changing rapidly, and new guidance is coming out from states on a regular basis. As things unfold, debt collectors need to be able to pivot quickly. First and foremost, industry members should focus on the safety of people—both for their employees and the consumers they work with. Next, it's important to create a plan for the current situation, including a business continuity plan.
The silver lining among all of this is that there have been a flurry of resources pop up in the past week or so about what to look out for and how to proceed in this uncertain situation. Many law firms with employment law practices are hosting free webinars that discuss labor and employment considerations of the current situation. Industry groups are hosting meetings and webinars to address industry-specific problems. Seeing the industry come together—not just as subject matter experts, but also as humans—makes me proud of us all as "neighbors."