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OCIF orders P.R. financial institutions to report quake-assistance efforts

The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF, in Spanish) released a Circular Letter requiring Puerto Rico’s financial institutions helping customers affected by the recent earthquakes to report on their efforts.

In the document, the regulatory body orders mortgage lenders and services specifically to file monthly reports of the steps they are taking to “help the affected persons to file, in the pertinent cases, insurance claims to recover their property losses caused by the earthquakes.”

Puerto Rico began shaking on Dec. 28, 2019 and has experienced ongoing quakes since, peaking with a 6.4-magnitude on Jan. 7 and followed by a number of 5-magnitude events that have collectively caused damage to properties in at least 16 southern towns.

The OCIF “reminded” mortgage service entities of their duties to assist those whose properties were affected.

“Mortgage servicers are further reminded of the stay on foreclosures in effect for ‘persons affected by the earthquakes’ and loss-mitigation assistance available to these persons, pursuant to the relevant servicing guidelines,” according to Circular Letter No. CFI-2020-01 signed by OCIF Commissioner George Joyner.

The people affected by the earthquake include those who experienced physical damage to their residences or buildings, those who have suffered economic losses or injuries attributable to the seismic events, and people who have been harmed or suffered earthquake-related injuries.

The banks are required to provide data on activity in the 17 towns: Adjuntas, Maricao, Arecibo, Peñuelas, Sabana Grande, Ciales, Utuado, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hatillo, Jayuya, Lajas, Lares, Yauco, Ponce, and Juana Díaz.

The first report was due Wednesday, the OCIF document stated.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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