Hurricane Dorian gained strength in the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday and could be a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall on Monday. The storm could have maximum wind speeds of 130 mph. In response, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reminded homeowners and servicers of their respective assistance options.
Freddie Mac reminded mortgage servicers of its disaster relief policies for borrowers as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida. Freddie Mac's disaster relief options are available to borrowers whose homes or places of employment are located in presidentially-declared Major Disaster Areas where federal individual-assistance programs are made available to affected individuals and households.
In areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not yet made individual assistance available, mortgage servicers may immediately leverage Freddie Mac’s short-term forbearance programs to provide mortgage relief to their borrowers that have been affected by hurricane damage.
“As Hurricane Dorian approaches, we stand ready to ensure mortgage relief is made available to affected borrowers in eligible disaster areas,” said Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac’s VP of Single-Family Servicer Performance Management. “Once safely out of harm’s way, we strongly encourage homeowners whose homes or places of employment are impacted by the hurricane damage to call their mortgage servicer—the company borrowers send their monthly mortgage payments to— so they can learn about available relief options.”
Additionally, Fannie Mae stated that homeowners may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer following a disaster. According to Fannie, mortgage servicers are authorized to suspend or reduce a homeowner's mortgage payments immediately for up to 90 days, even without establishing contact, if the servicer believes the homeowner was affected
“We are monitoring the situation, and we urge those in the path of the storm to focus on their safety first as they prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Dorian,” said Malloy Evans, SVP and Single-Family Chief Credit Officer, Fannie Mae. “Along with our lending and servicing partners, Fannie Mae is committed to ensuring assistance is available to homeowners and renters in need. We encourage residents whose homes, employment, or income are affected by the storm to seek available assistance as soon as possible.”