For the first time ever, the recent NMLS Ombudsman meeting was virtual and focused on a single topic: remote work and supervision in a post-pandemic world.
The first half of the meeting featured a screening of a discussion held a week earlier between industry and state agency panelists. This was followed by the panelists responding to questions submitted by attendees on the topic of remote work and supervision.
A recording of the meeting is available on the NMLS Ombudsman page, but here are our primary takeaways:
- The Non-Depository Supervisory Committee has reached out to state agencies encouraging them to extend the remote work-related guidance that they have issued in response to the pandemic. With respect to those state agencies that have not yet issued such guidance, the NDSC has encouraged them to do so (or at least communicate a “no action” position if they are not permitted to issue such guidance).
- Further controls are needed to ensure that remote work and supervision is a viable, long-term approach. Among other things, regulators continue to have concerns surrounding new hire training, records management and security, and examination logistics. But regulators acknowledge that their receptiveness to remote work and supervision has changed dramatically in light of the pandemic.
- The success of remote work during the pandemic has spurred further discussion on whether branch licensing is necessary, particularly for personal residences. A primary concern of regulators is how to replace the revenue generated by branch licensing. The path forward will involve state agencies and industry working with state legislatures to amend applicable laws. To spur the initiative, the panel discussed the creation of a working group and the drafting of a model law.
The next NMLS Ombudsman meeting will take place in 2021. Comments and questions can be submitted to the NMLS Ombudsman at any time via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.