Wednesday, March 25, 2020

NYS 90-Day Mortgage Relief Plan – DFS Regulation Issued

On March 24, 2020, the details of NYS’ COVID-19 mortgage help came to light.

Specifically, the New York State Department of Financial Services promulgated 3 NYCRR 119 in response to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.9.

Here is a Q&A about the details

What is the COVID-19 Relief Program?
The COVID-19 Relief Program requires DFS regulated institutions to make applications for a 90-day forbearance of any payment due on a residential mortgage of New York Property to individuals residing in New York and who demonstrates financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long is the Program effective?
The Program shall be in effect until June 19, 2020, but may be extended if necessary.

Are mortgage payments waived under the Program?
The Program does not expressly require institutions to waive mortgage payments.

When can a borrower apply for the Program?
On or before April 3, 2020, regulated institutions are required to e-mail, publish on their website, mass mail, or broadly communicate to customers how to apply for COVID-19 relief and provide their contact information.

Which institutions are covered under the Program?
DFS-regulated institutions are covered under the Program. They are New York regulated banking organizations covered by the New York Banking Law and all New York regulated mortgage servicers regulated by DFS. This means that the program does not cover National Association lenders (federally charted banks). The Program does not apply to mortgage loans made, insured, or securitized by the United States, Government Sponsored Enterprise, Federal Home Loan Bank, and lenders, issuers, servicers or trustees of such loans, as well as, servicers for the Government National Mortgage Associations.

Does the Program cover commercial loans?
The Program does not apply to any commercial mortgage or other loans not described in 3 NYCRR 119.

Aside from a 90-day forbearance, is there additional relief available under the Program?
From today until June 19, 2020, or until extended, lenders will provide the following relief to individuals who experience financial hardship from COVID-19:
  • Waive fees for use of automated teller machines (ATMs);
  • Waive overdraft fees; and
  • Waive credit card late payment fees.
Institutions are not limited to offering the above types of relief and are encouraged to take additional reasonable and prudent actions to COVID-19 affected individuals.

Who is qualified to receive COVID-19 relief?
Regulated institutions must develop their own clear, easy to understand, and reasonably tailored criteria for assessing qualified individuals. The qualifications and process for applying for relief should be published by institutions on or before April 3, 2020.

How are applications processed under the Program?
Regulated institutions are required to develop and implement procedures for expedited processing where they must process and respond to requests immediately and no later than 10 days of receipt of all information reasonably required to process the application. All determinations must be communicated to the applicant in writing and must explain the reasons if the application was denied and a statement that the applicant may file a complaint with DFS if he believes the application was wrongly denied.

Is the Program ready to launch?
More clarity concerning the Program is expected once regulated institutions have published their process for applying for relief. Individuals who are seeking mortgage assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged retain counsel as soon as possible to negotiate with their mortgage lenders or servicers. Don’t assume you qualify and get all terms in writing before you stop making mortgage payments.