Bank of America, Freddie Mac and Wells Fargo are granting borrowers in the Gulf Coast region relief on their mortgage payments. Freddie Mac forbearance policies allow its servicers to suspend a borrower’s mortgage payments for up to three months or reduce payments for up to six months. Based on the individual circumstances, borrowers can receive a forbearance for up to 12 months. “We are instructing our servicers to work with borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages to extend forbearance of mortgage payments where appropriate to help them stay in their homes as they navigate through this financial hardship,” said Ingrid Beckles, senior vice president of default asset management at Freddie Mac. BofA is working to develop assistance plans and programs to help its borrowers through the crisis, a spokesperson for BofA said. The bank developed similar programs following the hurricanes in 2005 and in other disaster situations in the US. Usually, disasters call for an initial 90-day forbearance of payments for BofA borrowers, and, like Freddie Mac, individuals needing more time will be handled on a case-by-case basis. BofA is currently analyzing its portfolio of loans in the region and assessing the situation to determine what other specific needs may need to be addressed in a disaster assistance program for victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Wells Fargo granted its borrowers affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill a 90-day foreclosure moratorium, according to a statement from the bank. “We encourage customers affected by the Gulf events (loss of job or income) to reach out to us and work with our mortgage consultants on a one-to-one basis to determine the best options for their homeownership and financial needs,” according to Wells. CitiMortgage, the servicing arm of Citigroup, and Fannie Mae announced foreclosure relief plans yesterday. Write to Jon Prior. The author holds no relevant investments.

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