Lenders continue to aid victims of Hurricane Sandyby Michele Lerner
(The comment section of this post has been updated with additional information for Wells Fargo customers. Please see the comments below for more information.)
After Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast in late October 2012, financial institutions stepped up with relief efforts including deferred mortgage payments for borrowers who lost their homes, lost income or experienced major damages. Although the storm passed nearly five months ago, many homeowners are still struggling financially. Mortgage lenders have updated their responses to continue to assist borrowers in the aftermath of the storm.
Chase recently announced they are allowing some of their borrowers to defer payments missed during the moratorium until the end of their loan term.
“We created a payment moratorium to help our customers who were struggling after Sandy and now we’re allowing them to make those payments over an extended period of time,” Kevin Watters, CEO of mortgage banking, said in a press release. “We will automatically adjust their loan with no documentation required and at no cost to them.”
Borrowers must have been current on their loan before the storm and Chase must own their loan in its portfolio. The bank is working with investors to extend the loan repayment program to borrowers whose loan is not owned by Chase. Customers can get more information at their local branch or by logging onto InsuranceClaimCheck.com.
CitiMortgage extended forbearance to their mortgage customers as long as they were not 12 months or more delinquent on their home loans prior to the storm. Borrowers who continue to be impacted by the storm can extend their forbearance for up to six months. If their loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and the investors agree, the extension can be as long as 12 months and the extension can go up to 18 months for FHA loans.
“We are committed to working as quickly as possible under the requirements of investors, insurers and others to help our customers impacted by Sandy,” said Mark Rodgers, director of public affairs for Citi, in an email. Customers can get help at their branch or by calling customer service at 888-248-1616.
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage senior vice president Marie Day said in an email, “For customers in FEMA-declared disaster areas who have contacted us and are impacted by the storm, we extended the mortgage payment moratorium until April 26, 2013. The moratorium suspends all payments, credit bureau reporting, late fees, collection calls and in some cases, foreclosures.”
Once the moratorium ends, borrowers will begin regular payments and can work out repayment of exempted payments with the bank. Mortgage customers can get individualized assistance at bank branches and mortgage offices, by calling the Wells Fargo Disaster Hotline at 888-818-9147 or on the website.
Bank of America
“Bank of America offers one of three repayment options to borrowers who have received forbearance following a disaster, depending on the individual’s situation, qualifications and mortgage investor guidelines we must follow,” Rick Simon, Bank of America Home Loans media relations spokesperson, said in an email.
Borrowers may want to make a lump sum payment at the end of their forbearance period, but Bank of America won’t demand this of customers uncomfortable with that choice, Simon said in an email.
Other borrowers can choose a short-term repayment period during which they add a small amount to their regular monthly payment until the forbearance amount has been repaid.
Homeowners who require a longer forbearance may be offered a loan modification that incorporates the forbearance amount into the remaining principal on the loan or extends the loan term, effectively moving the additional payments to the end of the loan. Borrowers can get more information at 800-669-6607 or www.BankofAmerica.com
As April’s six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy looms, victimized homeowners should contact their lender to find out what options are still available to ease the financial pain of the storm. (If your bank wasn’t mentioned in this post, be sure to still contact them immediately to see if additional relief options have been announced.)