The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding consumers that COVID-19-related assistance programs and forbearance periods are nearing end dates, and those who have taken advantage of these programs should resume making timely payments, if possible, or contact their lenders right away if they still need assistance.
“I urge homeowners to make timely payments if they can to protect their credit, and if they can’t, to reach out to their mortgage lenders now if they are still feeling the impact of COVID-19,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Borrowers’ forgiveness agreements established earlier this year may be ending soon, but many Michigan lenders continue to offer help to those who need it.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and DIFS launched the MiMortgage Relief Partnership in April, a cooperative agreement between more than 230 banks, credit unions and mortgage servicers in Michigan to provide mortgage relief to Michigan homeowners experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardships. These institutions have agreed to work with impacted borrowers in a number of ways, including offering a 90-day mortgage payment forbearance, allowing borrowers to reduce or delay their monthly mortgage payments, and providing relief from mortgage-related late fees and charges for up to 90 days. They have agreed not to initiate any foreclosure sales or evictions for 60 days nor report adverse payment information to credit bureaus.
Additionally, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act provided assistance to those with federally backed mortgages, providing homeowners the right to request and receive a forbearance on their mortgage payments for up to 180 days, with the option to extend for an additional 180 days, as well as the option to discontinue the forbearance at any time. During that forbearance period, servicers are prohibited from charging fees or interest beyond what homeowners would have had to pay if they were making payments as scheduled. The CARES Act also provided laid off workers an increased unemployment benefit payment, which will end by July 31.
In addition to mortgage assistance programs, the Eviction Diversion Program is available to keep renters who fell behind on payments in their homes. The program utilizes a special court process to get fast rental assistance for renters who have been impacted by COVID-19. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority will administer this program through its network of nonprofit Housing Assessment and Resource Agencies and additional information is available at Michigan.gov/EDP.
“COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives and the CARES Act unemployment benefit that provided additional help to families will soon end,” said Fox. “If that is not extended, borrowers who have been relying on that help to make their mortgage payments should contact their lenders to discuss what options or arrangements may be available to them as soon as possible and before the loan is delinquent.”
Visit the DIFS website for more information on federally backed mortgages and the MiMortgage Relief Program. Consumers who need assistance with their financial services company can also contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442, or file a complaint at Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/difs or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.