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Fannie Mae announces COVID-19 payment deferral

Provides important information to help impacted homeowners

OW Staff Writer | 5/28/2020, midnight

Fannie Mae has announced a payment deferral option for homeowners who experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19 that has been resolved and are ready to resume their monthly mortgage payments.

Under this option, homeowners can resume their regular monthly mortgage payment after up to 12 months of missed payments, and the missed payments are deferred, or moved, to the end of the loan term. This option is for homeowners who have completed a COVID-19 related forbearance plan and are able to continue making their full monthly contractual payment but cannot afford full reinstatement or a repayment plan to bring their mortgage loan current.

Under a forbearance plan, homeowners are required to repay the missed payments, but they are never required to repay them all at once. When the forbearance plan ends, the mortgage servicer must work with the homeowner to determine how they will repay missed payments. The best solution will depend on the homeowner’s financial situation when the forbearance plan has concluded.

Here are three facts to help homeowners better understand available forbearance and post-forbearance options during COVID-19:

  1. Homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship caused by COVID-19 may request a forbearance plan through their mortgage servicer (the company listed on their mortgage statement). Homeowners must contact their mortgage company to request assistance. Under the CARES Act, a forbearance plan must be provided to eligible homeowners for an initial period of up to six months, and the plan can be extended for up to a total of 12 months if the borrower requests it.

  2. Under a forbearance plan, a homeowner may be able to temporarily reduce or suspend their mortgage payment while they regain their financial footing. Forbearance does not mean a homeowner’s payments are forgiven. Homeowners are still required to eventually fully repay their forbearance, but they won’t have to repay it all at once - unless they choose to do so.

  3. Homeowners have several options to pay back unpaid amounts accrued during their forbearance period. Mortgage servicers will attempt to contact homeowners 30 days before their forbearance plan is scheduled to end to determine which assistance program is best for them at that time.

—Full repayment: Homeowners have the option of immediately reinstating their loan, which means catching up on all the missed payments in a single payment if they can afford it. If a homeowner chooses to reinstate their loan, they can continue to pay their mortgage under the terms originally agreed to before they received forbearance.

—Short-term repayment plans: Homeowners can gradually catch-up on the past-due amount over an agreed-upon time frame (for example, three, six, nine, 12 months). A portion of the past due amounts must be paid in addition to their existing monthly mortgage payments. Upon completion of their repayment plan, they can continue paying their mortgage under the terms originally agreed to before they received forbearance.

—COVID-19 payment deferral: Homeowners can resume their regular monthly payments and the amount of their missed payments moves to the end of the loan term. Note: Mortgage servicers will begin offering the payment deferral repayment option starting July 1.

—Loan modification: The original terms of the loan are changed in order to make the borrower’s monthly payments more manageable and address their ongoing hardship.

Homeowners needing additional assistance can access Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network through the Loan Lookup Tool. If the tool confirms the homeowner has a Fannie Mae-owned loan, they can work with the Disaster Response Network’s HUD-approved housing counselors who can help navigate the broader financial challenges many are facing.

For more information and assistance visit Fannie Mae’s KnowYourOptions.com website, which provides a one-stop overview of the various options available to homeowners and renters who might need help due to COVID-19.