Mortgage Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak
If you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, the federal government is offering relief options to homeowners through the recently passed CARES Act. In addition, for those borrowers who do not qualify, many banks and credit unions in Connecticut are offering relief consumers may qualify for. Please read the information below provided carefully, in order to determine which option meets your needs.
Watch this helpful video by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know
If you are able to pay your mortgage, continue to pay as usual.
If you cannot pay your mortgage, immediately contact your mortgage servicer or financial institution. Please note that mortgage servicers are getting a lot of calls from homeowners experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic, and wait times are much longer than usual. Be prepared to wait, and also check your companies website for online options.
What options do you qualify for?
Your mortgage relief options depend on who owns or backs your mortgage.
Find out if your mortgage is federally backed. The majority of mortgage loans in the state are owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or guaranteed by other federal agencies like the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, which are entities sponsored by the federal government. All these entities have options for homeowners impacted by the Coronavirus.
- Find out if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae.
- Find out if your loan is owned by Freddie Mac.
- A borrower can find out if their loan is guaranteed by FHA by calling their servicer.
If your mortgage is federally-backed:
There is a new federal law, the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, which offers the following protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:
- Mortgage Forbearance. Servicers required to provide 180 days of mortgage forbearance (with option to extend for an additional 180 days) to borrowers attesting to COVID-19 financial hardship. Servicer may not charge any fees, interest, or penalties beyond amounts scheduled or calculated as if borrower made payments on time and in full. Applies to federally-backed mortgages (FHA, VA, RHS, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).
- Foreclosure Moratorium. A moratorium on foreclosure proceedings, foreclosure-related evictions, and foreclosure sales for federally-backed mortgages has been extended until at least June 30, 2020. (Updated 5/14/2020)
- Credit Protection During COVID-19. Requires that furnishers of information to credit reporting agencies who agree to account forbearance or modified payments due to COVID-19, report a consumer’s obligations or accounts as “current” or as the status reported prior to the accommodation during the period of accommodation unless the consumer becomes current. This applies only to accounts for which the consumer has fulfilled requirements pursuant to the forbearance or modified payment agreement. This credit protection is available from January 31, 2020 and ends at the later of 120 days after enactment of the bill or 120 days after the national emergency declaration related to the coronavirus is terminated.
For Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Mortgages:
In addition to the foreclosure moratorium and forbearance, if you are granted forbearance to delay making your monthly payments during this temporary period:
- You won’t incur late fees
- You won’t have delinquencies reported to credit reporting companies
- Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended
- Consumers have the option to place the payments on the back end of the mortgage
For FHA mortgages:
In addition to special COVID-19 forbearance, FHA has implemented the COVID-19 National Emergency Partial Claim, an option to be used by servicers when the COVID-19 forbearance period ends. This partial claim will help eligible homeowners who have been granted special COVID-19 National Emergency forbearance to reinstate their loans by authorizing servicers to advance funds on behalf of homeowners. The partial claim will defer the repayment of those advances through an interest-free subordinate mortgage that the borrower does not have to pay off until their first mortgage is paid off.
Updated Information as of May 14, 2020:
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that starting on July 1, 2020, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now offering a new repayment solution for homeowners who are in forbearance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment deferral option allows borrowers the ability to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at the end of the loan. In addition to this payment deferral option, borrowers with COVID-19 related hardships can still utilize other options that include reinstatement, repayment plan, or loan modifications based on their individual situations. Homeowners with federal loans are not required to pay back missed payments in one lump sum.
- The FHFA also has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are extending their moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until at least June 30, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to federally-backed single-family mortgages only. The current moratorium was set to expire on May 17th.
You can find more information on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) Website.
Watch this helpful video by the CFPB:
CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know
If your mortgage is not backed by the federal government:
On March 31, 2020, Governor Lamont announced an agreement with over 50 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to the state’s residents and businesses who continue to face hardship caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Under the agreement, the following relief policies are being offered by participating financial institutions for borrowers that have “portfolio mortgages” - those mortgages that are bank/credit union owned:
- 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments: Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments. In addition, the institutions will:
- Provide a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;\
- Confirm approval and terms of forbearance program; and
- Provide the opportunity to extend forbearance agreements if faced with continued hardship resulting from COVID-19.
- Relief from fees and charges for 90 days: For at least 90 days, participating financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals.
- No new foreclosures for 60 days: Financial institutions will not start any foreclosure sales or evictions.
- No credit score changes for accessing relief: Financial institutions will not report derogatory information (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies but may report a forbearance, which typically does not alone negatively affect a credit score.
Participating Financial Institutions
Bank of America
Chelsea Groton Bank
Eastern Connecticut Savings Bank
Essex Savings Bank
Fairfield County Bank
Fieldpoint Private Bank & Trust
First County Bank
Guilford Savings Bank
Jewett City Savings Bank
JP Morgan Chase Bank
New Haven Bank
Newtown Savings Bank
Northwest Community Bank
People's United Bank
Salisbury Bank and Trust Company
Savings Bank of Danbury
Stafford Savings Bank
Thomaston Savings Bank
Torrington Savings Bank
Union Savings Bank
Windsor Federal Savings
360 Federal Credit Union
Achieve Financial Credit Union
American Eagle Financial Credit Union
Bridgeport City Employees Federal Credit Union
Cencap Federal Credit Union
Charter Oak Federal Credit Union
Community Credit Union of Milford
Connecticut State Employees Credit Union
Connex Credit Union
Consolidated Controls Corporation Federal Credit Union
CorePlus Federal Credit Union
Cornerstone Community Credit Union
Crosspoint Federal Credit Union
CSP Employees Federal Credit Union
Dutch Point Credit Union
Enfield Community Federal Credit Union
Finex Credit Union
First Bristol Federal Credit Union
General Electric Employees Federal Credit Union
Greater Hartford Police Federal Credit Union
Greater Waterbury Healthcare Federal Credit Union
Groton Municipal Employees Federal Credit Union
Hartford Federal Credit Union
Hartford Firefighters Federal Credit Union
Healthcare Financial Credit Union
Members Credit Union
MembersFirst CT Federal Credit Union
Metropolitan District Employees Credit Union
Mutual Security Credit Union
New Haven County Credit Union
Northeast Family Federal Credit Union
Northwest Hills Credit Union
Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union
Pitney Bowes Employees Federal Credit Union
Seasons Federal Credit Union
Sikorsky Financial Credit Union
Skyline Financial CU
SoundView Financial Credit Union
St. Vincent's Medical Center Federal Credit Union
Tri-Town Teachers Federal Credit Union
United Business and Industry Federal Credit Union
Waterbury Postal Employees Federal Credit Union
Western Connecticut Federal Credit Union
Questions and Answers on Connecticut’s COVID-19 Mortgage Relief Agreement
How do I get mortgage relief and/or forbearance?
You should contact and work directly with your mortgage servicer to learn about and apply for available relief. Please note that financial institutions and their servicers are experiencing high volumes of inquiries.
How long will the forbearance last?
Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments.
What effect will this have on my credit report?
Financial institutions will not report derogatory information (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies but may report a forbearance, which typically does not alone negatively affect a credit score.
How long will these programs last?
It is still unclear how severe or how long the COVID-19 impacts will be. Financial institutions have committed to necessary relief and will be assessing the ongoing conditions and necessity of continuing relief.
What if my financial institution isn’t offering this relief?
At this time over 50 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers are supporting these commitments. The state will welcome any other institution that would like to meet the moment and provide much-needed financial relief to Connecticut residents. The Department of Banking has published a list of participating financial institutions on its website.
What if I already made a payment or was hit with a fee because of COVID-19?
These measures went into effect as of March 31, 2020.
Is the mortgage relief available to businesses?
The relief is currently only available for residential mortgages.
What if my mortgage servicer is not communicative or cooperative?
You can file a complaint with the Department of Banking through the Online Complaint Form or by contacting the department at 860-240-8299 or 1-800-831-7225 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday through Friday).
What impact does the CARES Act have?
The CARES Act has important protections for renters and homeowners. In particular, homeowners with mortgage loans that are backed by the federal government through the FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or other agencies can receive significant forbearance.
How about commercial loans and commercial mortgages?
Commercial loan or commercial mortgage customers should know that all financial institutions are working proactively with each commercial borrower experiencing challenges. Any bank or credit union commercial customer having financial difficulty, whether for-profit or nonprofit, should call their financial institution as soon as possible. Several important governmental actions have and will provide relief to businesses.
The Lamont administration’s quick actions resulted in Connecticut being one of the first states where businesses can access the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) economic injury disaster loan program for up to $2 million dollars. In addition, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development quickly created the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan program, which will provide up to $50 million of loans to small businesses and nonprofits.
Importantly, Congress passed the important CARES Act, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and will provide loans and grants of up to $10 million, for companies of up to 500 employees. A wide variety of businesses will be eligible for the PPP and they include but are not limited to: private and public businesses, self-employed and independent contractors, nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, and tribal business concerns.
In addition to the PPP, banks and credit unions continue to work with their commercial customers on a case by case basis to address the financial needs of their impacted business. We encourage any impacted commercial customers to contact their financial institution.