Michigan launches mortgage relief partnership amid coronavirus: How it could help you

Several options available for homeowners in need

(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a new partnership with more than 200 financial institutions to offer relief to those who are struggling to pay their mortgages during the coronavirus pandemic.

Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) today announced the creation of the MiMortgage Relief Partnership with over 200 of Michigan’s financial institutions to “recognize and expand upon the measures that these institutions have been taking to assist customers to ensure that no one experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will lose their home during this public health crisis.”

The state says this partnership will encourage uniformity in available options for consumers in need of assistance, regardless of financial institution. Participating financial institutions are listed on the MiMortgage Relief Partnership Financial Institutions page.

Related: How to apply for food, cash assistance, other benefit programs in Michigan

“No one should have to worry about losing their home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “With the MiMortgage Relief Partnership, Michigan’s credit unions, banks, and lenders have stepped to the plate to help our residents who are suffering financial losses due to COVID-19 by providing a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments.”

Options available

By signing onto Whitmer’s MiMortgage Relief Partnership, the state says participating financial institutions have agreed that they will continue to work with their impacted residential mortgage loan borrowers in at least the following ways:

Providing affected borrowers with a 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments. Financial institutions will offer mortgage-payment forbearance for 90 days, allowing borrowers to reduce or delay their monthly mortgage payment. In addition, the financial institutions will:

  • Provide a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
  • Confirm approval of and terms of their forbearance program (which should include reasonable solutions for resuming payments at the end of the forbearance term); and
  • Where appropriate, provide the opportunity for borrowers to extend a forbearance agreement if they continue to experience hardship due to COVID-19.

Providing relief from mortgage-related late fees and charges for 90 days. For affected borrowers who reach an agreement with their financial institution, financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees for at least 90 days.

Foregoing new foreclosures for 60 days. Financial institutions will not initiate any foreclosure sales or evictions for 60 days for affected borrowers who reach an agreement with their financial institution.

MORE: Q&A: Michigan unemployment agency answers questions about issues applying for benefits

Refraining from reporting adverse credit scoring information based upon the borrower’s accessing relief. Financial institutions will not report adverse credit scoring information for affected borrowers who reach an agreement with their financial institution. Financial institutions will report other credit information consistent with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or other federal agency guidance.

Working with borrowers on their specific needs or concerns. If a financial institution varies from these provisions to the benefit of the borrower or to address specific borrower requests, concerns, or individual financial health, this would be deemed in the spirit of the partnership. In particular, issues surrounding escrow and tax and insurance payments may require more individualized assistance.

As of April 22, 2020, over 200 financial institutions have signed onto the partnership. Participating financial institutions are listed on the MiMortgage Relief Partnership Financial Institutions page.

“The strength of our financial system will be an important factor in how Michigan recovers economically from COVID-19,” DIFS Director Anita G. Fox said. “Through the MiMortgage Relief Partnership, financial institutions will continue to help customers find the solutions that best fit their needs, and to focus relief efforts on those most impacted by the crisis. Michigan residents who can meet their financial obligations can continue to do so, while those who need assistance will be able to work with their financial institutions to access relief.”

How to get help

Michigan borrowers experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out directly to their financial institution to learn the details of the relief options available to them, and to work out with the institution an agreement applicable to their loan.

Borrowers are encouraged to reach out before their loan becomes delinquent. DIFS never advises borrowers to stop paying their loan payments.

VIEW: Mental health resource guide for people impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

Please note that financial institutions and their servicers are experiencing high volumes of inquiries and may recommend using online services when available for the quickest service. Loans held by a financial institution may be serviced by another company.

Lenders who service federally-backed mortgages are subject to federal rules. Borrowers with these loans may wish to visit the CFPB guide to coronavirus mortgage relief options.

For more information on COVID-19 related mortgage relief, see: www.michigan.gov/MiMortgageRelief or call DIFS toll-free at 877-999-6442.

About the Author: