New unemployment claims reached an all-time high of over 4.4 million on April 18, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus. Needless to say, business closures, layoffs and quarantine and stay-home orders have had a devastating impact on the lives and finances of families in every part of the country. The Federal Reserve has responded with a number of efforts to bring coronavirus relief to people experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.
As part of that drive, the Fed has encouraged the nation’s financial institutions to work with borrowers and provide them with information on how they can modify their loans. Learn about banks offering pandemic-related relief that can help you find the financial assistance you need to protect your money during this trying time.
- Which Financial Institutions Are Offering Relief During the Pandemic?
- What To Do If Your Bank or Financial Institution Doesn’t Offer Financial Assistance
- Resources That Can Help Provide Financial Relief During the Pandemic
- How To Get Financial Assistance
Many banks and loan servicers are working with customers to ease their financial burdens. The list that follows will give you an idea of what kind of assistance is available.
Here’s a partial list of banks that are offering assistance programs to consumers affected by COVID-19. In the event your bank isn’t listed, visit its website — chances are, you’ll see a link for coronavirus or COVID-19 assistance right on the homepage.
Ally’s comprehensive assistance program includes a 120-day deferment on your Ally Home Loan and suspension of overdraft and other account fees until July 18. Fees for broker-assisted trades are also suspended until July 18. In addition, Ally will temporarily defer eligible customers’ auto loan payments.
Bank of America
Bank of America’s Client Assistance Program helps customers manage their credit card, auto and home loan payments. You’ll have to request or apply for assistance, but the program’s benefits are well worth the effort.
At your request, Bank of America will consider waiving your overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees and the monthly maintenance fees for your accounts. In addition, you can fill out a payment assistance request to defer your credit card and loan payments.
Chase is offering one of the most robust assistance programs included in this list. In addition to providing payment assistance for credit cards, home mortgage and equity lines of credit and auto loans and leases, the bank will work with you to resolve credit card billing disputes arising from travel cancellations.
Citi has a collection forbearance program for credit card holders. Personal loan and credit line customers can contact Citi to apply for solutions including lower payments, lower APR and/or waived account fees. Eligible retail bank customers can request refunds for out-of-network ATM fees and service fees from March 2020-December 2020 (within 180 days of when the fees were charged).
For mortgage borrowers experiencing hardship, Citi is offering 90-day forbearance for mortgage loans through its sub-servicer Cenlar FSB. Foreclosures and evictions have been paused. For student loan borrowers, servicer Firstmark has assistance options for those who qualify.
This regional bank, which GOBankingRates rated as one the best regional banks of 2020, rivals national banks in terms of the assistance it’s offering customers facing virus-related hardships. In addition to free, “available immediately” check-cashing for economic impact payments, Regions will waive penalties on early CD withdrawals. The bank will also waive account fees and fees on excessive savings and money market withdrawals.
TD Bank’s TD Cares program helps customers impacted by COVID-19 by deferring loan payments and waiving late fees. Eligible accounts include personal loans, auto loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, TD Fit loans and TD Bank, N.A. credit cards.
As part of Wells Fargo’s coronavirus help program, the bank is suspending real estate foreclosures and evictions as well as auto repossessions. Requests for payment deferrals and fee waivers for credit cards and loan products will be considered on a case-by-case basis, according to the Wells Fargo website.
Student loan servicers like Navient and Nelnet have relief programs for students experience coronavirus-related financial hardships. As mandated by the CARES Act, payments and interest accruals on U.S. Department of Education-owned loans — “ED” loans — are automatically suspended until Sept. 30.
Students with commercial loans might have other options. For example:
- Nelnet will consider requests for a 90-day forbearance or for payment deferment.
- Navient is offering a 90-day forbearance and loan modifications.
Good To Know: How To Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Homeowners experiencing a hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic might find relief under the CARES Act. In addition to a temporary moratorium on foreclosures, the law gives borrowers whose loans are backed by the federal government the right to a forbearance allowing them to stop paying or make reduced payments for a limited period, without penalty.
Although CARES Act relief only applies to federally backed loans, call your servicer even if you have a direct loan from a commercial lender. Chances are, the lender has its own assistance program, such as those offered by some of the banks on this list. You can search the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems database to find your servicer.
You might be able to get relief from a coronavirus-related financial hardship even if your bank can’t or won’t help. Here are some ideas for getting access to cash:
Some employers offer an employee assistance program to help employees cope with a variety of hardships, including financial ones. Your employer can also help you withdraw money from your 401(k). In fact, the CARES Act has a provision for penalty-free early retirement account withdrawals for individuals experiencing a qualified coronavirus-related hardship. Your employer is also the best resource to find out whether you qualify for family leave in the event you become ill with COVID-19 or need to care for a family member who does.
Investigate whether you’re eligible for a balance-transfer credit card. Moving high-interest balances to a low- or no-interest card can reduce your payment and save you a lot of money on interest during the promotional period.
However, be warned: The fees should be less than any interest that you might accrue. Once you’ve completed your balance transfer, you should continue to monitor your spending to avoid excess debt.
Learn More: How To Transfer a Credit Card Balance
Contact your creditors — preferably before your payments are late — to work out payment arrangements. You might ask the creditors to waive late fees or defer your payments for a few months, for example.
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Here are some other resources if you need financial planning services, emergency food or housing — or if you want to find out if you can successfully file for unemployment benefits.
The Financial Planning Association is offering free services to individuals in underserved areas whose finances have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The planners offering these services are all FPA members and Certified Financial Planners. Nonprofit credit counseling agencies can also help you manage your money and your debt. Visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s Coronavirus Financial Toolkit webpage for information or to contact a credit counselor.
Federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance expands state unemployment benefits and covers gig workers, independent contractors and others who typically don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. Visit your state unemployment website for details on who qualifies and how to apply for unemployment benefits.
The 211 phone number links citizens with government agencies and community organizations that can refer these individuals to social services like emergency housing and food, mental health resources, employment support and assistance for children, older adults and the disabled. All 50 states have at least some degree of 211 coverage, according to the Helpline Center. Text your ZIP code to 898211 to be connected with a local crisis specialist.
It might not be possible to shield your money entirely, but there are steps you can take to lessen the pandemic’s impact on your finances. First, create a budget — or update your pre-virus budget — to reflect your current situation, so you know where you stand. Be proactive in reaching out to creditors you’re in danger of not being able to pay. Chances are, they already have an assistance program in place to help you. But you’ll need to ask for it and verify that your hardship is related to the pandemic.
As you explore your options for financial relief, be mindful of unscrupulous individuals looking to scam you out of your much-needed cash. The Federal Trade Commission recommends avoiding internet links to unknown sources and ignoring communications claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control or offering vaccines or other COVID-19 treatments or cures.
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Information on promotions was sourced from banks’ websites on April 24, 2020. Additional requirements may apply. Offers and terms are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information on an institution or its accounts, visit its website.
GOBankingRates bases its assessment of “best” and “top” products on the above-stated parameters to create a baseline for comparison. This assessment is an approximation of “best” and “top” designed to help consumers find products that might be appropriate for them. There could be other options available as well. Consumers should consider various options appropriate for their circumstances.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.