Florida urges banks to work with small businesses

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state is easing regulatory requirements as it urges financial institutions to work with small businesses and contractors suffering economic damage because of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Russell Weigel, the state’s new Office of Financial Regulation commissioner, released a letter Wednesday encouraging bankers and other lenders to work with customers affected by the public health emergency.

"Reasonable efforts to make new loans and modify the terms on existing loans of affected customers will not be subject to examiner criticism,” Weigel said in the letter.

He added, “The OFR will work with financial institutions across the state to minimize regulatory burden when scheduling examinations, consistent with applicable legal and regulatory requirements. Our examiners will work offsite during examinations to continue to minimize the impact to financial institutions.”

Weigel advised the financial institutions not to wait to undertake “operational steps they deem necessary in response” to the highly contagious virus.

“Please communicate with the OFR, as soon as logistically possible, and we will work with you regarding any necessary alterations to business operations,” Weigel said.