U.S. Mortgage Lenders Urge Customers to Ask About Forbearance if Coronavirus Poses Financial Threat

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Some of America’s largest mortgage lenders are urging their borrowers to get in touch as soon as possible if they making home loan payments becomes difficult because of the coronavirus health emergency.

While none of the institutions who were approached by Newsweek and responded had a specific policy related to coronavirus, they do have existing procedures for dealing with forbearance due to illness or loss of income.

Coronavirus and efforts to contain it may deprive many workers of part or all of their income. President Donald Trump is in talks with Congress about a stimulus package to financially support any affected workers as the situation worsens.

In Italy, which is badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak, the government is in talks with the country’s banks to suspend mortgage payments and ease the coronavirus burden on consumers and the economy.

And in the U.K., the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the country’s largest mortgage lenders, said it would offer up to a three-month deferral on payments for any customers who catch the coronavirus. TSB and Lloyds Bank are offering a similar payment window, BBC News reported.

But in the U.S., big banks and mortgage lenders are taking a wait-and-see approach as the number of coronavirus cases rises, leaning on current policies to cope with any payment issues that may arise.

U.S. Bank is monitoring the situation but has not yet updated its policies in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

“However, a number of options are regularly available to U.S. Bank customers experiencing hardship,” Evan A. Lapiska, vice president for public affairs and corporate communications at U.S. Bank, told Newsweek. “Customers with questions are encouraged to speak with a banker or contact customer service for more information.”