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Sam Gendusa December 6, 2018

Newsletter - December 2018

Thousands of people lost their homes -- and dozens lost their lives -- in record-setting wildfires in California last month.

The “Camp Fire” in Butte County has been declared deadliest fire in California’s history, with 85 confirmed fatalities. At least 3 more people died in the “Woosley Fire” in Los Angeles County.

Nearly 400 square miles have been burned, and more than 19,500 structures destroyed by the fires — most of them homes. More than $2.6 billion in residential properties are at risk, according to an analysis by Realtor.com.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have outlined relief options for mortgage holders affected by the fires, including:

  • Allowing servicers to suspend or reduce mortgage payments for up to 90 days without any homeowner contact
  • Allowing servicers to suspend foreclosure and other legal proceedings
  • Waiving assessments of penalties or late fees against affected borrowers
  • Not reporting delinquencies caused by the fires to credit bureaus

In fact, many financial institutions have policies in place to provide relief to customers who have been impacted by the fires.

For example, Golden 1 Credit Union offers short-term loans of up to $5,000 and flexible payment options on existing loans for wildfire victims.

Bank of America has a program to provide personalized financial assistance, from waiving ATM and late fees to providing temporary payment and forbearance plans on home loans.

In addition to its emergency relief package for people with existing loans and credit cards, Navy Federal Credit Union has a new loan program that allows borrowers to get up to $15,000 for damages and evacuation expenses with terms up to 60 months at 6 percent APR.

“Once safely out of harm’s way, we strongly encourage homeowners whose homes or places of employment have been impacted by these dangerous fires to call their mortgage servicer … to learn about available relief options,” said Freddie Mac’s Vice President of Single-Family Servicer Performance Management Yvette Gilmore. “We stand ready to ensure that mortgage relief is made available.”

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