As we’ve blogged about previously, Juneteenth (officially known as “Juneteenth National Independence Day”), which is celebrated every year on June 19th, became an official federal holiday when President Biden signed legislation on June 17, 2021, adding Juneteenth to the list of federal holidays found in 5 U.S.C. 6103(a). This change occurred on fairly short notice – the law was signed just two days before the holiday itself would be celebrated in 2021 – and resulted in confusion among compliance professionals regarding whether June 19, 2021 should be treated as a federal holiday when complying with federal laws and regulations. Last week the CFPB issued an Interpretive Rule addressing this issue.
For some context, Regulation Z imposes certain deadlines, which are often measured in business days (as opposed to calendar days). Section 1026.2(a)(6) defines “business day”, and actually provides two different definitions for the term. The first definition merely defines “business day” as any day on which the credit union’s offices are “open to the public for carrying on substantially all of its business functions.” The second definition only applies to specific deadlines laid out in Regulation Z – including some deadlines that are important for closed-end mortgage transactions – and defines “business day” to mean “all calendar days except Sundays and the legal public holidays specified in 5 U.S.C. 6103(a).” Thus, under this definition (referred to by the CFPB as the “specific definition”), all Saturdays are considered business days even if a credit union’s offices are closed, unless that Saturday happens to be a legal public holiday.
The CFPB statement notes that the legislation signed on June 17, 2021 specifically added Juneteenth to the list of “legal public holidays,” meaning that the “specific” definition of “business day” will exclude June 19th of each year from the business day calculation, as it already does for July 4th and other federal holidays. While that is helpful moving forward, the bureau acknowledged that there were many questions regarding how this holiday should be treated for mortgage transactions that occurred around Juneteenth 2021. To that end, the CFPB Interpretive Ruling states:
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