Extended Mortgage Relief for Mortgages Not Backed by the Federal Government
Connecticut’s banks and credit unions are pleased to continue working with Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Banking to extend assistance to Connecticut residents facing financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic under a voluntary mortgage relief program launched on March 31, 2020. Participating banks and credit unions have reaffirmed their commitment to continue their participation in the Mortgage Relief Program through July 30, 2020. Those financial institutions will provide mortgage forbearance up to 90 days and will not institute new foreclosures for another 60 days in order to continue helping those who need it most. While each participating financial institution’s policies and practices may vary, and while some financial institutions may treat all mortgage loans the same, the Mortgage Relief Program applies specifically to consumer mortgages owned by banks and credit unions (“portfolio mortgages”). The program provides the following relief to borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19:
- 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments: Participating financial institutions will continue to offer mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments. In addition, the institutions will continue to:
- 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: Through July 30, 2020, participating financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals.
- No new foreclosures for 60 days (through July 30, 2020): 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.
Financial Institutions Participating in the Mortgage Relief Program
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
Achieve Financial Credit Union
American Eagle Financial Credit Union
Charter Oak Federal Credit Union
Connecticut State Employees Credit Union
Connex Credit Union
Dutch Point Credit Union
Finex Credit Union
First Bristol Federal Credit Union
Members Credit Union
Metropolitan District Employees Credit Union
Northeast Family Federal Credit Union
Northwest Hills Credit Union
Pitney Bowes Employees Federal Credit Union
Seasons Federal Credit Union
Skyline Financial Credit Union
Sikorsky Financial Credit Union
St. Vincent's Medical Center Federal Credit Union
Waterbury Postal Employees Federal Credit Union
Western Connecticut Federal Credit Union
Questions and Answers on Connecticut’s COVID-19 Mortgage Relief Program
How do I get mortgage relief and/or forbearance?
You should contact and work directly with your financial institution or 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?
Under the terms of Governor Lamont’s program, participating financial institutions are offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments. Check with your financial institution to learn more.
What post forbearance workout options are available on my mortgage?
The Department has encouraged participating financial institutions to offer borrowers repayment options that are affordable, including the opportunity to make their missed forbearance payments at the end of the life of the loan, when it is refinanced or the property is sold.
In response, banks and credit unions will continue helping borrowers — especially people who have trouble repaying their loans and who are affected by COVID-19. In addition to offering forbearances to borrowers on a case-by-case, needs-based basis, for borrowers who cannot afford to repay all the missed payments at the end of the forbearance period, banks and credit unions will continue to offer creative and compassionate options to help. Some of these options may include:
- Spreading missed payments across the remainder of the loan
- Adding missed payments on top the end of the loan term
- Repaying missed payments upon sale, refinance, or at end of loan term
- Fast track loan refinancing
Each participating financial institution’s policies and practices may vary, so borrowers should contact the institution that services their mortgage loan to understand the specific programs and terms available to them.
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. Participating 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 45 federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers are participating in the mortgage relief program. 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 made a payment or was hit with a fee because of COVID-19 before the mortgage relief program started?
These measures first 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 commercial borrowers experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. Any bank or credit union commercial customer having financial difficulty, whether for-profit or nonprofit, should call their financial institution as soon as possible, if they have not already done so.
The federal government has also established programs to provide relief to businesses. The Lamont administration’s quick actions at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Connecticut being one of the first states where businesses could access the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) economic injury disaster loan program for up to $2 million dollars, as well as an immediate $10,000 advance. 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 CARES Act, which established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP has provided low-interest, forgivable loans to businesses with up to 500 employees in amounts up to $10 million. A wide variety of businesses are eligible for the PPP and they include but are not limited to: private and public businesses, self-employed and independent contractors, nonprofits, hospitals, veterans’ organizations, and tribal business concerns. As of May 31, 2020, approximately $100 billion in funding was still available for PPP loans. Businesses can visit the Small Business Administration’s website to learn more about the PPP.
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.