National Coronavirus Relief Services
COVID-19 Disaster Relief Services Available
Mortgage Forbearance Guidelines
Homeowners who have lost income or their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak are getting some relief. Depending on their situation, they should be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months.
Federal regulators, through the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility. The move covers about half of all home loans in the U.S. — those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie. But regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy.
Under the plan, people who have suffered a loss of income can qualify to make reduced payments or be granted a complete pause in payments.
Homeowners can’t just stop paying their mortgage. “They need to contact their servicer — that is the lender that they send the check to every month,” he says. “That lender will work with them to be able to work out a payment plan.”
Auto Loan Assistance
Several major lenders have announced programs to both help current borrowers and give new borrowers peace of mind. The credit arms of Ford, Nissan, General Motors, and Toyota will offer first payment deferrals of between 90 and 120 days to buyers of new vehicles.
GM will also offer certain new car buyers zero percent financing for up to seven years for top credit tier borrowers. The company is providing complementary OnStar crisis assist services to current owners for a limited time.
Hyundai and Genesis are re-launching Hyundai’s job-loss protection program for buyers or lessees of new vehicles. If the customers lose their job, the companies will make as many as six monthly loan or lease payments.
Ford’s credit arm has launched a website, and a hotline where customers who need help can discuss options with the lender.
“Ford is committed to lending a hand to the people who rely on us,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service in a press release. “The peace of mind of our Ford and Lincoln customers is our top priority as we work through the developments of this outbreak.”
Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, the Nissan’s automaker’s financing company, is encouraging customers to call to discuss payment arrangements. They note that wait times may be longer than normal, as their call centers are being staffed in such a way to promote appropriate social distancing.
Honda and it’s luxury Acura brand have announced late fee waivers, payment extensions, and deferrals. They request you contact Honda Financial Services to discuss your situation. Buyers of new vehicles may qualify for up to a 90-day deferred first payment program.
Luxury carmakers Maserati and Porsche will extend leases up to six months, and are offering deferred payment programs.
Ally Bank, a major auto lender, will offer customers payment deferrals for up to 120 days. Interest will still accrue on the balance, but the lender won’t charge late fees. Ally is a financial partner to Mitsubishi, and their customers can contact Ally directly.
Credit Card Assistance
Many of the top credit card issuers have released statements and created webpages dedicated to customers’ coronavirus concerns. See below for a summary of what card issuers are offering as relief.
To ease the financial hardship and difficulties many Americans are already facing, American Express is waiving interest and late payment fees for eligible personal and business cardholders. American Express also suggests members consider its Financial Hardship Program, which offers both short-term and long-term assistance, such as monthly payment or interest rates temporarily lowered, or relief from late payment fees for qualifying cardholders. Learn more about Amirican Express coronavirus assistance.
Goldman Sachs, Apple Card
The Goldman Sachs-backed Apple Card was one of the first to offer relief to cardholders. Apple sent out an email on March 15 that stated: “We understand that the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation poses unique challenges for everyone and some customers may have difficulty making their monthly payments. Apple Card is committed to helping you lead a healthier financial life.”
Upon enrollment in Apple’s Customer Assistance Program, cardholders are able to skip their March credit card payment without incurring interest charges. Learn more about Apple’s coronavirus assistance.
Bank of America
Bank of America has one of the most extensive webpages dedicated to coronavirus assistance, including statements from top executives. “If you have been negatively impacted by coronavirus and need additional assistance related to your account please visit our website or you can give us a call.i” Holly O’Neill, head of consumer, small business and wealth management client care at Bank of America, said in a video statement on the client assistance webpage.
Available assistance includes the ability for credit card holders to submit an online request form for a payment deferral. Learn more about Bank of America’s coronavirus assistance.
Like American Express, Capital One is also including waived interest and fees in its assistance program for both personal and business cardholders. According to a Capital One spokesperson, “The specific provisions offered really depend on the individual customer’s needs, but can include fee suppression, minimum payment assistance and deferred loan payments.” Learn more about Capital One’s coronavirus assistance.
Chase cardholders may receive assistance with both bill payments and travel bookings. “When customers call us with financial challenges related to coronavirus, our customer service specialists have been helping them with things like waiving fees, extending payment due dates for cards, auto loans and mortgages, or increasing credit lines for consumer and small business customers,” a Chase spokesperson tells CNBC Select.
Chase also created a coronavirus trip management page dedicated to changing or canceling travel booking, which states they will work with customers “to help find solutions for changing or cancelling a trip whether you paid with your credit card, debit card, or with rewards.” Learn more about Chase’s coronavirus assistance.
Citi’s coronavirus webpage states that eligible Citi credit card customers can receive credit line increases and enroll in collection forbearance programs. If you qualify for assistance, you may be able to ask for a larger line of credit or the ability to temporarily pause minimum payments. Learn more about Citi’s coronavirus assistance.
A Discover spokesperson tells CNBC Select that, “Discover customers may receive assistance that can include support related to payment timing, fees and late payments.” Cardholders can call customer service or chat with a representative about available options. Learn more about Discover’s coronavirus assistance.
Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Other Issuers
Other card issuers, such as Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, encourage customers to call and discuss possible solutions. If your card issuer doesn’t provide the assistance you need, consider opening a new credit card with benefits that are better suited to your needs.
Student Loan Assistance
Students and recent grads breathed a sigh of relief last week when the government announced it would suspend federally held student loans as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. But to take advantage of the 60-day suspension, you’ll have to take a few steps.
The Department of Education has dropped the interest rate on student loans to 0% for at least the next 60 days.
Step one is reaching out to your lender. The Department of Education has contact numbers for servicers of federally held loans listed on its website. If you’re not sure who holds your loan, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 or visit StudentAid.gov/login.
Once you’ve found the right lender, ask them for an administrative forbearance. That will allow you to stop making payments without being marked delinquent. You won’t have to worry about extending that forbearance if the government extends the loan suspension program, either. That will be done automatically once you’ve called.
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