The Idaho Department of Finance has extended its guidance allowing collection agency employees to work from home without needing to obtain branch licenses until December 31. The allowance was due to expire on September 1.
“The Department recognizes that the continued spread of localized person-to-person cases of the virus has not significantly improved,” it said in a statement that was circulated to all licensed collection agencies. “As states and municipalities continue to lift stay-at-home orders in varying stages, licensees may still need to continue remote operations in certain locations. Additionally, the Department understands that licensees may want to continue to evaluate whether it is beneficial to their businesses and their consumers to continue utilizing remote operations as part of their business processes.”
A number of states have altered or amended their requirements to allow collection agency employees to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, many agencies have reported that their employees are more productive when working from home and would like to continue to do so after the pandemic is over. But whether states will allow employees to work from home at that point remains to be seen.
Licensed collection agencies in Idaho are still expected to follow the guidance that the state’s Department of Finance issued in March, which included:
- Data security requirements include provisions for the employee to access the company’s secure origination system from any out-of-office device the MLO uses through the use of a VPN or other system that requires passwords or an identification authentication. The company is responsible to maintain any updates or other requirements in order to keep information and devices secure;
- Neither the employee nor the company is to do any act that would indicate or tend to indicate that the employee is conducting business from an unlicensed location. Such acts include but are not limited to:
- Advertising in any form, including business cards and social media, the unlicensed residence address or landline telephone or facsimile number associated to the unlicensed residence;
- Meeting consumers at, or having consumers come, to an employee’s unlicensed residence;
- Holding out in any manner, directly or indirectly, by the employee or company licensee, the residence address that would suggest or convey to a consumer that the residence is a licensed location for conducting licensable activities;
- Employees and companies must exercise due diligence in the safeguarding of company and customer data, information and records, whether in paper or electronic format, and to protect them against unauthorized or accidental access, use, modification, duplication, destruction or disclosure