Major banks and mortgage servicers will take action to expedite insurance payments to New York homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The new actions will enable the insurance companies to provide money to homeowners at a faster rate.
Various banks and servicers participating include Bank of America (BAC), Citi Mortgage (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFC), Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM) and Ocwen Loan Servicing (OCN).
Currently, the banks or mortgage servicers must endorse the insurance claim checks before homeowners are able to cash them.
As a result, the Department of Financial Services received complaints that servicers and banks have imposed "unusually stringent requirements" before checks are signed, causing delays for homeowners.
"Homeowners need help now and that’s why insurers are sending advance checks to meet their immediate needs," Governor Cuomo said.
He added, "Any delay in making these types of critical home repairs can mean the difference between a family being able to live safely in their home or remaining needlessly displaced for weeks or even months. I want to thank these banks and mortgage servicers’ for partnering with us and I call on all other banks and servicers to meet the standard set by their competitors."
The grace period on mortgage payments was also expanded for an additional three months, which will allow homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy to catch up on their payments without having to face collection agencies or a lowered credit score.
"Insurance payments are an essential part of people rebuilding their lives. We will continue to do everything we can to see that claims are processed promptly and homeowners and businesses receive all funds due to them so they can recover," superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky of Financial Services.
He added, "It is good to see these banks and servicers stepping up to the plate to try and speed our State's recovery."