“I try to be upbeat but it’s devastating. I may lose my house because I may not be able to make my payments, and I don’t know when I’m going to work again,” said Mark Becker, 48, at his Metairie home…
Mark Becker doesn’t need to worry about losing his home. The slow response includes the FDIC telling lenders last week that they have leeway to “make prudent efforts to adjust or alter terms” of mortgages. HUD last week began working out plans for FHA loans and over the weekend announced that Ginnie Mae loan packagers would have assistance in paying investors in their mortgage backed securities when the borrowers could not make the payments and would be able to adjust delinquencies in damaged areas in their risk monitoring statistics. (Not a direct help to the homeowners, but it’s the tool Ginnie Mae needs to be able to stay solvent while helping them.) The two big GSEs in the mortgage industry, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced that lenders could suspend or delay payments up to 18 months and create longer payback terms after that to assist homeowners in the affected areas. And HUD has pulled all it’s foreclosed property inventory off the market in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia to take stock of how it can be used to house survivors. (Did I mention that’s my preferred term. If you find me using the term “victim” or “refugee” please hit me hard.)
The Department of Veterans Affairs [doc file] has an existing policy that VA
…encourages holders of guaranteed loans in disaster areas to extend every possible forbearance to borrowers in distress through no fault of their own….It is the loan holderâ€™s responsibility to inspect damage to properties, counsel borrowers concerning assistance that may be available to them and provide the applicable Regional Loan Center with a report that outlines the findings and actions for each damaged property…
Although the loan holder is ultimately responsible for determining when to initiate foreclosure and for completing termination action, VA requests that holders establish a 90-day moratorium from the date of the declared disaster on initiating new foreclosures in the disaster areas.
(More on VA assistance beyond home loans.)
asking insured depository institutions to consider all reasonable and prudent steps to assist customers’ and credit union members’ cash and financial needs in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The agencies are working with state regulatory agencies, financial industry trade groups, and affected financial institutions to identify customer needs and monitor institutions’ restoration of services.
USDA is making its Rural Development rentals available at least as far away as Missouri:
Cape Girardeau is one of several Missouri communities where evacuees are being taken for temporary resettlement. So far, USDA Rural Development has identified at least 1,000 vacant housing units in Missouri that are available to house displaced residents…
USDA’s Rural Development also has designated a toll free number to assist homeowners, renters and others in need of housing assistance. The toll-free number is 1-800-414-1226. Information also is available on the USDA web site at: http://www.usda.gov/usdakatrina.xml.
These are all areas under federal, not local or state, control and decisions were made quickly to assure that Mark Becker and others need not worry about losing their homes and housing is going to be available for those whose homes are uninhabitable.