As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, the government and a number of mortgage lenders are stepping in to provide relief measures for homeowners and renters.
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought normal life to a screeching halt in the United States, prompting countless business closures and leaving millions of Americans suddenly out of work.
To ease the financial strain, many federal agencies and private lenders are offering help to people having trouble paying their mortgages.
If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage due to job loss or illness related to the coronavirus, assistance may be available.
We’ve gathered info for you from a range of lenders — but first let’s walk through some basics.
- Who owns your mortgage?
- Federal mortgage debt relief
- Private mortgage lender relief programs
- Other lenders
- Home insurance relief
- Property tax relief
Who owns your mortgage?
Before you can determine if you’re eligible for mortgage relief, you need to know who owns your home loan. Keep in mind that this might be different from the company you send your payments to — known as your servicer.
Many mortgages are owned by government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. To find out if your mortgage is owned by one of these, simply go to Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s lookup pages and enter your name, address and last four digits of your Social Security number.
If you don’t find your mortgage there, you’ll need to contact your mortgage servicer. In many cases, you can simply call the company listed on your monthly mortgage statement. The phone number should also be listed.
If you’re still unsure who owns your loan, you can send a written request to your loan servicer. It’s legally obligated to tell you the name, address and telephone number of the loan’s actual owner. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a sample letter you can send.
Federal mortgage debt relief
If your loan is owned by Fannie or Freddie, your mortgage servicer is required to evaluate you for a forbearance plan of up to 12 months if you’ve run into financial difficulty due to COVID-19, such as job loss, reduction in work hours or illness. The servicer is not required to obtain documents demonstrating your hardship.
Forbearance allows you to temporarily pause or reduce your mortgage payments during a period of financial difficulty. You pay the difference at a later date.
Under the FHFA’s coronavirus relief plan, your servicer is required to work with you on a mortgage modification by the time your forbearance period is over so that you can afford your new monthly payments. It also must suspend foreclosures and evictions through at least mid-May.
If your loan is owned by Fannie Mae, you can contact your loan servicer or the enterprise’s Disaster Response Network for individual attention. Freddie Mac asks borrowers to contact their loan servicer directly for help.
Private mortgage lender relief programs
If your mortgage isn’t owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there still might be some relief available.
Keep in mind that your bank or other initial mortgage lender may have sold off your loan at some point after it was originated. So just because you took out a mortgage through one company doesn’t mean it currently owns your loan. Your monthly mortgage statement will show you who to contact.
Below is a list of private mortgage lenders and info on assistance they’re offering, along with eligibility requirements. We’ll continue to update this list as we gather new information.
It’s important to note that some states and local governments have enacted moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, which would apply even if your specific lender or servicer isn’t offering relief measures. Check your state and local government websites to see if a moratorium has been enacted where you live.
What it’s offering: Ally Bank, which offers mortgage service support every day, may be able to offer assistance if you are facing financial hardship because of an interruption of income. Options include a repayment plan or full loss mitigation modification. Additionally, customers who live in Oregon, the District of Columbia or Massachusetts may also have the option to request forbearance. If you are currently active in forbearance and your circumstances haven’t changed, you may contact the bank at 1-866-401-4742 to discuss your options.
Eligibility: You’ll need to contact Ally to determine the assistance you’re eligible for. Support by phone is available, but the bank recommends you apply for help online to avoid long wait times.
Bank of America
What it’s offering: If you are experiencing financial hardship because of the coronavirus, Bank of America can provide payment deferrals or forbearances for up to three months or longer. For both, payment dates are delayed and there won’t be any late charges. Though payments aren’t forgiven or erased, the bank will work with you on payment options
Eligibility: If Bank of America owns your loan, it may be able to provide a payment deferral or payment forbearance. If the government owns or insures your loan, the bank will follow their guidelines and offer you a payment forbearance. You can submit a request online or call 1-800-669-6607 for more information.
What it’s offering: Chase’s COVID-19 response page recommends that you keep paying your mortgage if you’re able to do so. Customers affected by the coronavirus can log in to their account and enroll in a payment relief program. Eligible borrowers won’t have to make mortgage payments for an initial three-month period, which can be extended for additional months.
Eligibility: To learn more about coronavirus-related assistance, call 1-888-356-0023. Chase says members of the military who have been activated to respond to a disaster should call Chase’s military services hotline at 1-877-469-0110 to see what additional benefits might be available.
What it’s offering: Citi is offering a slate of mortgage assistance programs through its servicing company, Cenlar FSB. Home loan customers experiencing hardship may be eligible for a 90-day forbearance. In addition, foreclosures and evictions have been paused. See Citi’s COVID-19 response page for more information.
Eligibility: If you’re a Citi mortgage customer, contact Cenlar FSB at 1-855-839-6253 to see if you’re eligible for assistance.
Fifth Third Bank
What it’s offering: Fifth-Third Bank is offering 180-day forbearance plans. And while interest will still accrue during forbearance, there won’t be any late fees. Customers have three options at the end of the forbearance period: Make a lump sum payment after the forbearance period expires; agree to a repayment plan with the bank’s hardship team; or to be considered for a plan to move missed payments to the back of the loan, extending the loan term. For more information, visit Fifth-Third Bank’s COVID help and resources page.
Eligibility: You’ll need to contact Fifth Third to see if you’re eligible for assistance. You can do so by calling the bank at 1-866-601-6391 or sending a secure message through the bank’s online portal.
What it’s offering: Flagstar Bank is offering six-month forbearance plans for mortgage customers facing financial hardship because of COVID-19. (Though take note that the bank doesn’t say whether interest will accrue during that time.) Customers who opt in to this plan will have late fees waived for at least 180 days and negative credit reporting suspended for the same period of time.
Eligibility: You can request a forbearance with Flagstar online.
What it’s offering: For home loan customers affected by COVID-19, HSBC is offering assistance with payments, including deferrals, reductions and late-fee waivers. Visit the bank’s COVID response page for more information.
Eligibility: You’ll need to call the bank at 1-855-806-4657 to discuss your situation and eligibility requirements.
What it’s offering: Mortgage customers experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 can apply for assistance. The lender says you may be able to postpone your monthly payment with no late fees during the postponement period. Visit PNC’s Mortgage Payment Hardship Request to apply.
Eligibility: Mortgage customers affected by COVID-19 do not need to provide documents to apply for the temporary financial hardship payment forbearance program. Borrowers will need to provide their full mortgage account numbers when completing the form.
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans
What it’s offering: If you’re unable to make your payments because of COVID-19, you can enroll in a forbearance program to pause your mortgage payments for up to 12 months. At the end of the forbearance period, you’ll be able to pay with a lump sum, repayment plan or loan modification that finances the deferred amount — or you can request to extend the forbearance. Rocket Mortgage’s COVID-19 Resource Guide provides additional information and links for customers to apply for mortgage assistance.
Eligibility: You can apply for assistance through your online Rocket Mortgage account.
What it’s offering: Truist may consider customers for a mortgage forbearance plan. If your mortgage is federally backed and eligible for forbearance relief under the CARES Act, you may extend your forbearance for up to a year. Besides forbearance, you may also be eligible for payment deferral or a loan modification. You can apply for payment relief online or visit Truist’s COVID-19 help center for additional support.
Eligibility: You’ll need to call the bank to see what you’re eligible for. Legacy SunTrust customers should call 1-800-443-1032 and legacy BB&T customers should call 1-800-827-3722.
What it’s offering: U.S. Bank is offering forbearance plans of up to 180 days if you’re facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. Other options include a repayment plan or loan modification. You can visit U.S. Bank’s assistance page to get started on a mortgage assistance plan.
Eligibility: Customers are encouraged to take advantage of the online mortgage assistance process. To speak with a loan specialist, call 1-800-365-7900.
What it’s offering: Wells Fargo is offering to suspend mortgage payments for up to six months for customers hit by financial difficulties related to COVID-19. The lender will check in with you in three-month increments to review your financial situation. Once the suspension period is over, Wells Fargo will work with you to see if you need a longer suspension or loan modification, or if you can move the payments to the end of the loan. If your mortgage is covered by the CARES Act, you are able to request an additional six months of payment suspension for a total of 12 months. FAQs and additional mortgage payment information can be found on its COVID-19 update page.
Eligibility: To see if you’re eligible for assistance, sign into your online banking account and send a note through the secure message center. Wells Fargo says a bank representative will get back to you within three to five days.
This list doesn’t cover every mortgage lender and servicer. If you don’t see yours, that doesn’t mean help isn’t available.
If you’re worried about your ability to make mortgage payments right now and aren’t sure what your lender is doing to help, we recommend checking your lender’s website or calling its customer service number to discuss your options, including forbearance or other payment deferrals. You should also check with your state and local government authorities to see if evictions and foreclosures are suspended in your area. Our compiled list of government relief measures might be a good place to start.
Home insurance relief
If you’re looking for other ways to cut costs, your homeowner’s insurance issuer might also be willing to work with you. Reach out to your insurer to see what it may be offering.
Property tax relief
If you’re concerned about being able to pay your property tax, relief may be available in your area. Homeowners generally pay property taxes to the municipality, county or state where they own property.
Keep in mind that it’s possible to have more than one governing body assessing taxes on your property. Contact local tax authorities to learn if any relief programs are available in your area. Not sure who to contact? Try starting with your county tax assessor’s office.