April 10, 2020 - Douglas Myser

Delayed mortgage payment anxiety. Americans struggling to pay their mortgages because they've lost a job or income during the coronavirus pandemic can put off that bill for up to a year to the CARES act. But while the measures should be creating a feeling of relief, many borrowers have been left anxious because of confusing messages form the government and banks. Some homeowners say Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase have told them they have to repay those postponed payments--known as forbearance--in a lump sum once three months are up. It's an unexpected demand they fear could put them deeper in debt as millions are laid off and watching their retirement savings plunge with the stock market. One of the Americans uneasy who is confused and worried about the rules who is also late on his mortgage payment to Wells Fargo, after his family's baker y business went limp after the coronavirus closed businesses. Wells Fargo offered him a 90 day deferment on his mortgage, which is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but the 49 year old was surprised when Wells Fargo told him he'd still owe three months worth of payment--plus the current month--once that forbearance period was up. Delayed mortgage payment anxiety.

Why the surprise ?  It's a combination of evolving, sometimes conflicting rules depending on who owns the mortgage and many borrowers not understanding those rules. Experts are concerned about hos this will paly out for borrowers over the coming months, even after the recently enacted relief package form Congress, called the CARES Act, which allows many people to delay their mortgage payments for up to a year. "The problem with the CARES Act is that is doesn't make clear how borrowers pay back the money during the forbearance period," according to the National Housing Law Project, a nonprofit legal advocacy group. A mortgage can be owned by a bank, or a bank can service a loan back by the government sponsored entity like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Delayed mortgage payment anxiety. 

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