GOV. CUOMO SAYS SOME STATE BANKS OFFER MORTGAGE RELIEF

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by the Office of the Governor of New York and received
via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.) 
November 7, 2012 
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES MAJOR STATE BANKS AND MORTGAGE
SERVICERS OFFERING RELIEF FOR HOME MORTGAGE BORROWERS IN
AFTERMATH OF SANDY 
Relief includes no foreclosures or late fees for 90 days 
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that several major
state-chartered banks and mortgage servicers have agreed to
offer relief for home mortgage borrowers in the areas affected
by Storm Sandy, including, in many cases, no foreclosures and no
late fees for 90 days. 
State chartered banks providing loan relief efforts include
Apple Savings Bank, Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburg, Emigrant
Savings Bank, M&T Bank, New York Community Bank, Ridgewood
Savings Bank, Hanover Community Bank, among others. State
registered mortgage servicers providing loan relief efforts
include Citi Mortgage, Homeward Residential, Ocwen Loan
Servicing, Nationstar, as well as others. 
“Thousands of New Yorkers lost everything, while others are
struggling with no electricity and limited ability to travel or
communicate. As a result, some people may be late in payments on
mortgages or incur other bank fees and penalties. I’m proud to
say that major New York State chartered banks and registered
mortgage servicers have agreed to waive fees and penalties so
borrowers, who are already facing the difficulties and expenses
of recovering, won’t have this additional cost. I call on any
state chartered banks and mortgage servicers that have not yet
provided relief programs to borrowers to follow suit,” Governor
Cuomo said. 
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said,
“Too many people have already lost their homes or are facing
difficult repairs. We don’t want to add to the problem by having
people lose their homes or develop financial problems because
they can’t make timely mortgage payments due to the storm. We
will continue to work with banks and mortgage servicers to
protect those suffering from Sandy.” 
Details may vary from institution to institution and borrowers
should contact their individual bank or mortgage servicer for
specifics. In general, banks and mortgage servicers are working
with borrowers who have been harmed as a result of Storm Sandy
and offering the following types of relief: 
·     90-day postponement of foreclosures and evictions. 
·     90-day waiver of late fees on mortgage payments,
including online payments. 
·     In some cases, 90-day or more forbearance on mortgage
payments where the borrower has been impacted by the storm and
is seeking relief. 
·     Waiver of interest where a refinancing transaction has been
closed, but not funded. 
·     For borrowers in a trial modification, late payments will
not negatively affect such status or prevent the borrowers from
obtaining permanent mortgage modifications. 
·     Banks and servicers will not notify credit bureaus if
borrowers make late payments. 
Superintendent Lawsky also urged banks and mortgage servicers to
reassess the current credit needs of communities to help meet
those needs by making sound loans. They should also consider a
prudent restructuring of an affected borrower’s debt
obligations, by altering or adjusting payment terms. 
“Local banks and mortgage servicers can play a major role in
helping our communities recover, as they have played a major
role in their growth before the storm,” Superintendent Lawsky
said. Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky also reminded mortgage
servicers that as a result of the order prohibiting the
termination, cancellation, or non-renewal of homeowners’
insurance policies for 30 days starting October 26, servicers
cannot force place insurance on any homeowner who had insurance
in effect as of that date. Since homeowners’ insurance will
remain in place, no force-placed insurance is needed to protect
the lenders’ interests. 
Normally, servicers have a right to buy what is known as force-placed insurance if a homeowner does not maintain the insurance
required by the mortgage. This often happens when homeowners
fall behind on mortgage payments. Force-placed insurance is
typically far more expensive than the coverage purchased by a
homeowner, yet often provides far less protection for the
homeowner. 
Financial institutions seeking additional guidance for assisting
customers affected by the impact of Storm Sandy are urged to
contact the Department’s Albany office at 518-473-6160. 
Sarah Ludwig, Co-Director of NEDAP, an economic justice
organization based in New York City, said, “NEDAP commends
Governor Cuomo for taking rapid action to get many state banks
and mortgage servicers to agree to a 90-day foreclosure reprieve
for homeowners in the wake of the hurricane. We hope that all
lenders doing business in the state will follow these measures,
which are urgently needed to prevent another wave of mortgage
distress and foreclosures in New York communities hit by the
storm.” 
Kirsten Keefe, Senior Attorney, Empire Justice Center, said, “We
applaud Governor Cuomo’s quick response and believe it will be a
welcome relief to many homeowners impacted by Sandy. When
someone suffers damage to their home, or loses income because of
a natural disaster such as Sandy, new necessities of life emerge
and folks just need a reprieve from their regular financial
obligations. Hopefully the three month moratorium and
forbearance of payments being offered by the banks will be
enough time for most people to get back on their feet. We are
also hopeful that this is a first step and that lenders will
continue to work beyond the moratorium with the worst impacted
homeowners who sustained greater damage or total loss of their
homes.“ 
(bjh) NY 
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