The State of New Jersey is working to lessen the financial impact of COVID-19 on residents who are struggling to pay their mortgage and bills. Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, in addition to over 40 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers have committed to providing relief for consumers and homeowners in New Jersey.
Under this initiative, the Governor announced that New Jerseyans who are struggling with the COVID-19 crisis may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:
90-day grace period for all mortgage payments
If you are impacted by COVID-19, these financial institutions will offer mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which allow you to reduce or delay your monthly mortgage payment. In addition, they will:
– Give you a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
– Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and
– Provide you the opportunity to extend your forbearance agreement if you continue to experience hardship due to COVID-19.
– Relief from fees and charges for 90 days
– For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals.
No new foreclosures for 60 days
Financial institutions will not start any foreclosure sales or evictions.
No credit score changes for accessing relief
If you are taking advantage of this COVID-19-related relief, late or missed payments will not be shared with credit reporting agencies.
Questions and answers on financial relief
How do I get mortgage relief and/or forbearance?
You should contact and work directly with your mortgage servicer to learn about and apply for available relief. Please note that financial institutions and their servicers are experiencing high volumes of inquiries.
How long will the forbearance last?
The terms of a forbearance will be agreed to between you and your mortgage service. Financial institutions will confirm approval of and terms of the forbearance program.
What effect will this have on my credit report?
Financial institutions will not report derogatory information (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies but may report a forbearance, which typically does not alone negatively affect a credit score.
How long will these programs last?
It is still unclear how severe or how long the COVID-19 impacts will be. Financial institutions have committed to necessary relief and will be assessing the ongoing conditions and necessity of continuing relief.
What if my financial institution isn’t offering this relief?
At this time, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, in addition to over 40 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers are supporting these commitments. The state will welcome any other institution that would like to meet the moment and provide much-needed financial relief to New Jerseyans.
What if I already made a payment or was hit with a fee because of COVID-19?
These measures go into effect as of March 28, 2020.
Is the mortgage relief available to businesses?
The relief is currently only available for residential mortgages.
What if my mortgage servicer is not communicative or cooperative?
You can file a complaint with the Department of Banking and Insurance through the complaint form on the department website (https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/consumer.htm) or by contacting the department at (609) 292-7272 or 1-800-446-7467 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday through Friday).