The Court of Appeals, reversing the appellate division, in a full-fledged opinion by Judge Wilson, determined that UCC 9-406 allowed the lender to collect the accounts-receivables owed to the debtor by third-parties. The lender (Worthy) had a security interest in payments made by a third-party (New Style) to the debtor (Checkmate) after the New Style received notice of the assignment:
We are called upon to determine whether, for purposes of New York’s Uniform Commercial Code § 9-406, an “assignee” includes the holder of a presently exercisable security interest in an assignor’s receivables. We hold that it does. Under UCC 9-406, a security interest is an assignment and the UCC is purposefully structured to permit a debtor to grant creditors security interests in a debtor’s receivables so that the secured creditor can direct account debtors to pay it directly. * * *
Worthy filed a UCC-1 Financing Statement against Checkmate with the Secretary of State of New Jersey, perfecting its secured position regarding Checkmate’s assets. … Worthy sent New Style a notice of its security interest and collateral assignment in the New Style accounts and directed New Style that “[a]ll remittances for Accounts shall be made payable only to Worthy.” … . * * *
An account debtor who receives a secured creditor’s notice asserting its right to receive payment directly can pay the secured creditor and receive a complete discharge (UCC 9-406 [a]) or, if in doubt, can seek proof from the secured creditor that it possesses a valid assignment and withhold payment in the interim (UCC 9-406 [c]). Worthy Lending LLC v New Style Contrs., Inc., 2022 NY Slip Op 06631, CtApp 11-22-22
Practice Point: Pursuant to UCC 9-406 a lender’s security interest in a debtor’s accounts-receivable is an assignment of the accounts-receivables to the lender such that, after notice of the assignment, a party owing payments to the debtor is obligated to make those payments directly to the lender.