Maryland recently revised its financial institutions statutes, effective July 1, 2022, to expand coverage of prohibitions on acts or practices that are anti-competitive, unfair, deceptive, abusive, or harmful to the public interest. Specifically, the State will prohibit: (i) spreading any advertisement or making any false, misleading or deceptive representation; (ii) impose, as a condition of a loan, a restriction on obtaining credit, goods or services from a competitor, unless the restriction is reasonably necessary to secure the ready ; (iii) impose, as a condition of service, a restriction on obtaining credit, goods or services from a competitor; or (iv) engage in any act or practice that is anti-competitive, unfair, deceptive, abusive or harmful to the public interest. These prohibitions apply to newly defined “regulated persons”, which replace the term “approved persons” and are defined to include persons required to be licensed or registered under the Financial Institutions Article, collection agencies required to be licensed under the Business Regulation Section, or persons required to be licensed or registered with the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation (Commissioner) under the applicable provisions of the Commercial Law Section, that this license whether or not such registration is maintained, as well as persons otherwise engaged in any activity that is subject to any provision of any law, regulation, rule or order over which the Commissioner has jurisdiction. These prohibitions also generally apply to a financial institution (or a subsidiary or affiliate of a financial institution) whenever that entity is engaged in any activity: (i) for which it maintains or is required to maintain a license or registration issued by the Commissioner or the State Collection Agency Licensing Commission; or (ii) subject to any provision of law, regulation, rule or order over which the Commissioner has jurisdiction, other than the activity subject to any of Titles 3 through 9 of the article on financial institutions (concerning banking institutions, credit unions, credit unions, stock insurance and savings and credit associations).
Recent legislation has made a number of other revisions to the provisions of the Financial Institutions Section relating to the Commissioner, including, among other things, replacing the term “approved person” with “regulated person” (defined above ) in provisions dealing with how a commissioner may act (for example, whether he or she may share information relating to regulated persons) and an expansion of the commissioner’s enforcement powers in the event of breaches of the applicable provisions (for example, add the ability to demand restitution from those harmed by the breach) .