The rain is still pouring down in Oahu, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are ahead of the game. Both GSEs have already announced that their disaster relief programs are in effect for those impacted by Hurricane Lane.
Assistance is available for borrowers with GSE related mortgages on homes in presidentially-declared disaster areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made individual assistance programs available. We would assume in this case that would be everyone in Hawaii, but where that type of FEMA assistance is not available, servicers are advised they can leverage short-term forbearance programs to provide immediate assistance to affected borrowers.
The relief available from the GSEs includes:
- Forbearance from making mortgage payments for up to 12 months.
- Waived late fees during the forbearance period.
- Delinquencies and forbearance will not be reported to credit bureaus.
- Servicers are authorized to suspend or reduce mortgage payments for up to 90 days if they have reason to believe the homeowner is affected even without contact from the borrower. The 12 months forbearance will still be available. Servicers must suspend foreclosures and other legal proceedings for those who are or might be impacted, again with or without borrower contact.
- Disaster relief may also be available to persons living outside of the affected areas if their place of employment has been affected.
"It is important for those in the path of the storm to focus on their safety as they deal with the potential impact of Hurricane Lane," said Carlos Perez, Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer at Fannie Mae. "Fannie Mae and our lending and servicing partners are focused on ensuring assistance is offered to individuals and families in need. We urge everyone in the area to be safe, and we encourage homeowners affected by the storm to contact their mortgage servicer for assistance as soon as possible."