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CoronavirusMortgage

Bank of America will allow borrowers to pause their mortgage payments

Coronavirus forbearance is here

Mortgage relief options are coming fast and furious as the entire country struggles to deal with the spread of the coronavirus.

This week, the Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentFannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they are suspending foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days. That was followed by the state of New York declaring that certain borrowers in the state could forgo their mortgage payments for up to 90 days.

Now, one of the nation’s biggest banks is joining New York in stating that borrowers can pause their mortgage payments.

Bank of America announced Thursday afternoon that it is extending “additional support for consumer and small business clients experiencing hardship from the impact of the coronavirus.”

Included among those support options is the ability to defer mortgage payments.

According to the bank, Bank of America mortgage and home equity customers can request to defer their payments while the virus crisis rages. The payments would then be added to the end of their loan.

Basically, borrowers can get a break on their payments now but will have to make those payments eventually.

According to the bank, the payment deferral will be available on a case-by-case basis and can be extended on a month-to-month term.

It should be noted that this policy applies to loans held on Bank of America’s books, not to those backed by Fannie, Freddie, the Federal Housing Administration, etc.

As for those loans, Bank of America said that it is following each agencies’ policies, which are detailed here.

The bank added that there will be no negative credit bureau reporting for up-to-date clients.

But that’s not the only steps Bank of America is taking for its 66 million consumer and small business clients.

The bank is also pausing foreclosure sales, evictions and repossessions.

Beyond that, the bank is taking several other non-mortgage-related steps, including:

  • Consumer and Small Business deposit accounts: clients can request refunds including overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds fees and monthly maintenance fees.
  • Consumer and Small Business credit cards: clients can request to defer payments, refunds on late fees.
  • Small business loans: clients can request to defer payments, refunds on late fees.
  • Auto loans: clients can request to defer payments, with payments added to the end of the loan.

All of these options are also available on a case-by-case basis.

The bank said that its client-facing employees are “trained to identify and assist impacted clients and provide the right support to address their unique needs.” Borrowers facing hardship due to the coronavirus are encouraged to contact the bank’s client services team for assistance.

“Our clients rely on us every day and for every aspect of their financial lives,” said Dean Athanasia, president of consumer and small business at Bank of America.

“We’re going to continue to provide convenient access to the important services they count on, and the additional assistance and support they need during this difficult period,” Athanasia added. “Our priorities are taking care of our team and each other, and continuing to fulfill our fundamental role serving our clients.”

[Update: This article is updated with additional information on Bank of America’s policies.]

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