COVID19 Disaster Relief – Due to the COVID – 19 Pandemic, East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity recognizes that some of our borrowers are experiencing impact from the virus and therefore, limiting their ability to make their normal monthly mortgage payments. No one should be worried about losing their home during an epidemic.
During this time of crisis, we are working hard to make sure Habitat homebuyers and partner families have access to resources and information. Knowing that many families and individuals will be facing unemployment for an extended period or needing their income for healthcare or emergencies, East St. Tammany Habitat is offering a 90-day deferral on mortgages for our homebuyers affected by COVID-19 during this time of crisis.
To help ease the unexpected burden our homeowners are now facing, management and the board of directors have made several significant decisions to offer relief for individual clients and the community as a whole. This will continue to remain fluid and we remain committed to getting information out to you as fast as possible.
Effective March 20th East St. Tammany Habitat will offer a 90 day payment deferral option for homeowners effective by COVID-19. A client must request the deferral and can do that by filling out the short form HERE. Once the form is submitted, it is reviewed for approval.
Effective March 15th East St. Tammany Habitat will waive any late payment fees and negative credit reporting for loan clients. This will continue through June 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Deferral
Do I have to make a payment for April?
As long as you submit the deferral request form, you will not be required to make a payment for April. The 90-day mortgage deferral takes effect on April 1st, so you are getting a break from paying your mortgage for April, May, and June. If you opt-in to the 90-day deferral, your next payment due date is July 1, 2020.
Do I have to pay back those 3 months in one lump sum?
No. If you opt-in to the 90 day deferral, those 3 months will be added to the end of the loan. For example, if your loan originally ended in January 2021, it would now end in April 2021.
I’m confused about this whole escrow part.
Your monthly house note can be divided into two main parts: the home loan and the escrow, which covers things like homeowners & flood insurance and property taxes. The 90-day deferral means that you have 3 months in which you can make ZERO payments.
The 3 months of loan payments will be tacked on to the end of the loan.
However, if you do not pay any escrow for those 3 months, you will be 3 months short when it is time for Fidelity to analyze your escrow balance to see if there’s enough to cover your insurances and taxes. So instead of letting your insurance lapse, Fidelity will front the money and then take that amount and spread it out over the following 12 months, added on to your normal monthly note. For example, if your monthly escrow is $200, and you don’t pay anything during the 90-day deferral, you will be $600 short. Fidelity will pay that, but then divide that $600 by 12, which equals $50, and add that $50 to your monthly note for the following 12 months.
If you decide to continue paying all or part of your escrow during the deferral, you will not be as far behind when Fidelity does the escrow analysis, so your house note will be less impacted.
If you have additional questions, please call (985) 639-0656.
How do I make sure my payment will go towards escrow?
If you want to make a payment toward your escrow only, you must write “For Escrow Only” or “Escrow payment” on your check or money order. Escrow cannot be paid online; you must mail it to Fidelity or visit a drive-through Fidelity branch.
I don’t think I can pay anything toward my escrow. How much will my note increase after the escrow analysis?
This depends on many things, including your normal escrow amount and any increases in insurance premiums or property taxes. If any of these costs increase then the escrow part of your note will need to increase to cover those costs. If you do not pay three months of escrow, you will have a shortage of escrow funds to pay those costs. This shortage will be spread out over 12 months.
When will Fidelity conduct the escrow analysis to see if I’m behind?
Fidelity conducts an escrow analysis of every loan annually, based on the date of your loan closing. Any changes to your monthly note due to the escrow analysis will take effect 45 days later. If the annual analysis of your escrow is scheduled during April, May or June, it will still be analyzed, and any changes will take effect 45 days later. The timing of your escrow analysis has not changed.
Fidelity may conduct a special escrow analysis after the 90 day deferral period, but that is still to be determined.
Will Fidelity mail me a new monthly statement prior to July 1st?
Fidelity will continue to mail monthly statements showing the next payment due following the deferment.
What payment will I be making on July 1?
The payment due on July 1 will be indicated on your Fidelity monthly statement. If the annual escrow analysis is conducted during the 90 day deferral, there may be an adjustment to your monthly payment.
What if I missed my March 2020 payment?
If you don’t make your March 2020 payment prior to July 1, 2020 you will still be 30 days past due.
How will I know if Habitat got my form and the deferral request is approved?
You can call (985) 639-0656 to confirm that we have received your request form. All requests will be approved. Fidelity will receive the deferral information from Habitat and your monthly statement will show the advance due date, which will be the 1st payment following the deferment.
I have submitted the deferral request form – what’s the next step that I need to take?
The main thing you need to do is submit the deferral form. If you have filled out the form online you do not need to submit a paper form also. If you have auto-payments set up with Fidelity, you should cancel this feature during the deferral months. If possible, mail in escrow payments and note on the payment “for escrow only.”
What should I do if my mortgage payments automatically come out of my paycheck or bank account and go to Fidelity?
Be sure to suspend your normal payment if you are going to do the 90-day deferral. Fidelity cannot accept the escrow only payment online, so you will have to mail or drop off the payment. If a payment was drafted automatically, neither Fidelity nor Habitat can refund that money. Contact Fidelity at (800) 220-2497.My income has not been impacted, can I still make my April payment if I have the money?
If you do not need to defer your mortgage payments, you do not need to submit the deferral form. Even if you submit the deferral form, you are still welcome to make your mortgage payment as usual if you would like to. If you would prefer to use the money you have to pay only your escrow, you are also welcome to do that.
My income has not been impacted, but I’m nervous that it may be eventually. Can I sign up for this deferral later if needed?
If you do not submit the deferral request form by April 15, but feel you may need the deferral later, please contact Habitat at (985) 639-0656.
I don’t know my loan number. Where can I find it?
Your loan number can be found on your monthly Fidelity statement. It is 10 digits and begins with 300. If you don’t have a copy of your monthly statement, contact Fidelity at (800) 220-2497.
What is the difference between deferral and forgiveness?
Deferral is a postponement of payment. Forgiveness means the payments are wiped out for good. The 90-day deferral means that those three months of mortgage payments will be postponed to the end of the loan term.
Who can I talk to if I have questions? Is there a point person at Fidelity that people could speak with for questions about escrow specifics?
If you have questions about the loan deferral, you can contact the Habitat for Humanity at (985) 639-0656. If you have specific questions about your escrow, please contact LoanOperations@BankWithFidelity.com or (800) 220-2497 and indicate that you are an East Habitat homeowner.
How does the deferral impact my soft 2nd mortgage?
The deferral does not impact your soft 2nd mortgage.