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Freddie Mac offers mortgage relief to Midwest storm victims

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Freddie Mac directed servicers to provide several mortgage relief options to borrowers affected by recent storms in the Midwest. For borrowers living in major disaster areas, as declared by the President, Freddie will give servicers the ability to reduce or suspend mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Each case will be individually evaluated. Obama toured Joplin, Mo., this weekend to take in the extent of the damage from tornadoes that leveled more than 8,000 buildings and killed more than 130 people. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) committed $225,000 to relief and recovery efforts in Joplin. Of the money, $100,000 will go to the American Red Cross. Another $25,000 will go to the Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit based in Springfield, Mo. Chase will also match employee contributions to the American Red Cross, up to $100,000. In addition to suspended payments, Freddie could also lift foreclosure and eviction proceedings for up to one year. It may also waive assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers in damaged homes. Freddie could also elect not to report forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to the nation's credit bureaus. "In the wake of these astonishing storms, 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 Anthony Renzi, executive vice president of single-family operations at Freddie Mac. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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