Saturday, March 21, 2020

NYS Mortgage Relief Plans Becomes Clearer, BUT Not Enough

On March 21, 2020, the Governor issued NYS Executive Order 202.9, which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Subdivision two of Section 39 of the Banking Law is hereby modified to provide that it shall be deemed an unsafe and unsound business practice if, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, any bank which is subject to the jurisdiction of the Department shall not grant a forbearance to any person or business who has a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of ninety days... The Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services shall ensure under reasonable and prudent circumstances that any licensed or regulated entities provide to any consumer in the State of New York an opportunity for a forbearance of payments for a mortgage for any person or entity facing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Superintendent shall promulgate emergency regulations to require that the application for such forbearance be made widely available for consumers, and such application shall be granted in all reasonable and prudent circumstances solely for the period of such emergency. 
While a cursory reading shows that mortgage help is on the way, many uncertainties remain, including:

  • What does subject to the jurisdiction of the Department mean in the Order? Specifically, there are two charting systems for banks; federal and state. The Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency controls federally chartered banks pursuant to the National Bank Act. Generally, you can tell that a bank is federally chartered because it has the initials N.A. after its name. As a result, NYS doesn't have jurisdiction over federally chartered banks so how does this work if you have a loan through a federal bank like many NYS residents do?
  • When is the Superintendent promulgating emergency regulations and how are consumers going to understand those regulations if attorneys at law were not labeled as essential services under the quarantine and therefore are becoming less available by the minute? Yes, some law firms are open and working remotely, but for how long with many clerks' offices closed and all court deadlines tolled (yesterday's Executive Order 202.8), including "any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding."
  • By adding the words business & entity, is it intended that this applies to both residential and commercial property?
  • Is there a limit on the amount of the mortgage for this to be applicable?
  • After the forbearance is over, what happens to the money deferred (i.e., back end balloon, recapitalized, ballooned immediately, something else)?
  • Will the Superintendent of DFS be answering these questions or someone else; plus, will the answers be part of a regulation or just advisory? 
Please don't misunderstand this post. We 100% support the quarantine and also support the forbearance. Instead, this blog is designed to prevent further hardship to the vulnerable who take a leap of faith on their mortgage without first researching facts.

Get facts before you act and the facts aren't out yet - so, CONTINUE PAYING YOUR MORTGAGE for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment