Mortgage help may be available

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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By Lisa Tindell

With the thought that a regular paycheck may be in jeopardy due to employment changes over recent weeks, some mortgage companies are working to help ease some concerns for their customers.

Wanda Ellis, vice president and senior retail banking expert at Brewton’s TrustMark bank, said they have received some calls from their customers concerning their mortgage payments.

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“We are doing all that we can do to help our mortgage customers,” Ellis said. “We are following HUD (Housing and Urban Development) guidelines in everything we do.”

According to a recent release, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, in consultation with the Trump Administration and the Coronavirus Task Force, today authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. These moratoriums are part of the continued effort by President Trump to address impacts to the financial well-being of America’s individuals, families, and businesses caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Today’s actions will allow households who have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet the challenges of COVID-19 without fear of losing their homes, and help steady market concerns,” Carson said. “The health and safety of the American people is of the utmost importance to the Department, and the halting of all foreclosure actions and evictions for the next 60 days will provide homeowners with some peace of mind during these trying times.”

Ellis said customers can call to ask questions or to discuss their circumstances.

“We will be happy to answer any questions we can,” Ellis said. “Every bank has procedures in place and I encourage anyone who has questions to call their bank or mortgage holder to discuss their situation. Every situation is different and may require a different approach.”

Ellis said there are representatives on hand to answer any question that homeowners may have during this crisis.

“We are accessible to our customers,” Ellis said. “This situation is still changing and we are keeping in close contact with those in the know to make sure we are handling everyone’s situation appropriately.”

The guidance issues last week by HUD officials applies to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages, and directs mortgage servicers to halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process; and cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single-family properties.

“This is an uncertain time for many Americans, particularly those who could experience a loss of income. As such, we want to provide FHA borrower households with some immediate relief given the current circumstances,” said Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery. “Our actions make it clear where the priority needs to be.”