Consumer's Guide to Coronavirus Mortgage Relief
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced the creation of the MiMortgage Relief Partnership with more than 200 of Michigan’s financial institutions to recognize and expand upon the measures that these institutions have been taking to assist customers to ensure that no one experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will lose their home during this public health crisis.
These guidelines simply encourage credit unions to continue to do what you have already been doing: working with borrowers on their specific needs or concerns.
Important Things for Consumers to Know First
For many homeowners with mortgages, there’s help. But first, assess your situation.
- If you can pay your mortgage, pay your mortgage.
Don’t call your mortgage servicer if you aren’t facing an immediate issue. Mortgage servicers are getting a lot of calls and need to first help those who won’t be able to pay their mortgage. Check their website first for possible options.
- If you can’t pay your mortgage, or can only pay a portion, contact your mortgage servicer immediately.
It may take a while to get a loan servicer on the phone. Loan servicers are experiencing a high call volume and may also be impacted by the pandemic. Please be sure to read this blog carefully so you are prepared for this conversation.
- For information on how to find your mortgage service provider, click here.
What Options Do You Qualify For?
Mortgage relief options depend on who owns or backs your consumer mortgage.
- First, figure out who services your mortgage. This is who you need to contact.
Your mortgage servicer is the company that you send your mortgage payments to each month. If you don’t know or can’t remember who currently services your mortgage, there are several ways to find out, including looking at your mortgage statement for contact information.
Second, figure out if your mortgage is federally backed.
Nearly half of the nation’s mortgages are owned or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. To look up online whether your mortgage is owned or backed by Fannie or Freddie, click these links:
Is my loan backed by Fannie Mae?
Is my loan backed by Freddie Mac?
To verify whether you have an FHA, VA or USDA loan, find your closing documents (either hard copies or electronic versions) and look for the "Closing Disclosure." In the upper right of the first page of this document, under “Loan Information,” you’ll see checkboxes indicating your loan type: conventional, FHA, VA or other. If you can’t locate this document, try looking at your monthly mortgage statement or contacting your lender at the phone number listed on the statement.
Borrowers With Mortgages Backed by the Federal Government
If you have a federally backed mortgage, you have two mortgage relief options under the CARES Act:
- First, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time.
- Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request one extension for another up to 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
If your Mortgage is Backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
In addition to the foreclosure moratorium and forbearance, if you are granted forbearance to delay making your monthly payments during this temporary period:
- You won’t incur late fees
- You won’t have delinquencies reported to credit reporting companies
- Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended
FHA, VA or USDA Loans
Aside from the CARES Act, FHA, VA and USDA lenders have been encouraged to help borrowers impacted by COVID-19 use existing mortgage relief programs. This includes special forbearance, the duration of which can vary based on the homeowner’s situation. Regardless of mortgage type, reach out to your lender to discuss relief options..
- FHA Loans
- VA Loans
If you have a federally guaranteed loan, click here for more information on how to request forbearance or mortgage relief.
If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage servicer or from your state.
Borrowers with Mortgages NOT Backed by the Federal Government
Michigan borrowers experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out directly to their financial institution to learn the details of the relief options available to them, and to work out with the institution an agreement applicable to their loan. Borrowers are encouraged to reach out before their loan becomes delinquent and are not advised to stop paying their loan payments.
Your servicer should help you identify alternatives that may be available to you given your specific circumstances.
Under the MiMortgage Relief Partnership, participating financial institutions have agreed that they will continue to work with their impacted residential mortgage loan borrowers in at least the following ways:
- Providing affected borrowers with a 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments
- Providing relief from mortgage-related late fees and charges for 90 days
- Refraining from reporting adverse credit scoring information based upon the borrower’s accessing relief
- Working with borrowers on their specific needs or concerns*
- Assistance with Escrow Payments
While more than 100 credit unions have officially signed on to the MiMortgage Relief Partnership, even institutions not officially participating in the Partnership may offer the same relief. It is important that you contact your financial institution to understand what your relief options may be.
*If a financial institution varies from these provisions to the benefit of the borrower or to address specific borrower requests, concerns, or individual financial health, this would be deemed in the spirit of the partnership. In particular, issues surrounding escrow and tax and insurance payments may require more individualized assistance.Go to main navigation