In the wake of the hurricane that swept through parts of the Gulf Coast last week, one of the nation’s largest mortgage backers announced that it would allow some homeowners to put off their mortgage payments if they’re burdened with disaster-related concerns.
Hurricane Isaac affected several states as it hit and then ran out of steam over the U.S., but those most affected were where it first made landfall: Mississippi and Louisiana, according to a report by Freddie Mac. As such, the government-sponsored enterprise will allow homeowners with mortgages it backs located in federal Major Disaster Areas to receive some relief from their loan obligations.
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“Freddie Mac has authorized the nation’s mortgage servicers to provide a full range of mortgage relief options to affected borrowers with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac,” said Tracy Mooney, senior vice president of single-family servicing and real estate owned at Freddie Mac. “Forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year is one of several options our servicers have been instructed to offer borrowers on a case-by-case basis.”
These borrowers may also be able to get assistance or relief from lenders and servicers regarding the suspension of foreclosure and seizure processes for periods of up to 12 months, the report said. Further, penalty or late fees for missed payments for those whose homes were damaged may be waived in some cases, and servicers are also encouraged to not report consumers’ forbearance or delinquencies to the nation’s credit bureaus.
Consumers who have questions about whether they qualify for this type of protection as a result of their Freddie Mac-backed homes may contact Freddie Mac by phone, or should otherwise contact the company to which they send their monthly mortgage payments, the report said. Further, information about Freddie’s general disaster relief policies is available online.
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Freddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, back a significant portion of the nation’s home loans. However, as of yet, Fannie has not announced any plans to provide the kind of relief for homeowners affected by Hurricane Isaac in the way that Freddie has. However, such an announcement could come in the near future, and potentially provide help for a large number of affected consumers.
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