Fannie, Freddie remind servicers of options as Hawaiian hurricane approaches

Hurricane could be reduced to tropical storm

Hurricane Lane is set to make landfall over the weekend and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are reminding servicers of their options in the wake of the upcoming storm.

But what started out as a Category 5 storm growing dangerously close to the island has since reduced in size to a Category 2 storm. In fact, it may even fall to a tropical storm by the time it hits land.

Already, heavy rains brought flooding to the Big Island, covering parks, fields and roads. Forecasters explained the storm is difficult to predict as there has never been a hurricane in that region and moving in that direction.

In fact, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today issued a proclamation allowing national banks, federal savings associations and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks affected by severe weather conditions associated with Hurricane Lane to close.

The government-sponsored enterprises are reminder servicers, and homeowners, of their disaster relief policies as the weekend approaches.

The GSEs’ disaster relief options become available to borrowers with homes in federally declared disaster areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency has made individual assistance programs available to affected individuals and households.

In these disaster areas, servicers can move to provide forbearance for up to 12 months on mortgages to bring relief to borrowers who live or work in the area. They can also waive penalties or late fees, and not report delinquencies caused by the disaster to credit bureaus.

“At this time, it is important for those in the path of the storm to focus on their safety,” said Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac vice president of single-family servicer performance management. “Once out of harm’s way, we strongly encourage homeowners on the Hawaiian Islands whose homes or places of employment have been impacted by Hurricane Lane to call their mortgage servicer—the company to which borrowers send their monthly mortgage payments—to learn about available relief options.”

Fannie Mae explained its servicers can suspend or reduce a homeowner’s mortgage payments for up to 90 days even without contact with the homeowner if the servicer believes the homeowner has been affected by the disaster.

“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, Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief credit officer. “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,” Perez said.

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