Where to get help
If you are having trouble with your home loan, or the lender or servicer you work with, you have rights, and in most cases, you have options to help you modify your loan.
Step 1: Figure out who owns my home loan
Knowing who owns your home loan is important to understanding what rules they must follow.
There are two major types of loans: federally-backed home loans, and private loans.
Federally-backed Home Loans
There are five different types of federally-backed home loans:
- Federal Housing Authority (FHA)
- The Veterans Administration (VA)
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Fannie Mae (GSE)
- Freddie Mac (GSE)
Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) home loans are backed by the federal government and account for more than 50% of all home loans in the U.S. Where this gets a little confusing, though, is that your home loan will be federally backed, but it is serviced by a private lender, such as JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, or Wells Fargo. That means you will see the name of the private lender on your statements, and make payments to that lender, but your loan is still backed by a GSE.
Private Portfolio Home Loans
Private Portfolio home loans: These loans are originated and serviced by a bank. They keep the loan within their own portfolio of assets. Home loans owned by private lenders, such as banks, are not required to follow FHA government guidelines. About 30%, or roughly 14.5 million U.S. home loans, are privately owned. While some banks have set up programs that basically follow the federal guidelines, the forbearance periods, terms, and repayment options do vary from bank to bank.
If you are uncertain if your loan is government backed or private, utilize this FREE search tool. If your loan is government backed, it should identify which agency.
It is a national database that tracks sales of mortgages from lender to lender. If you cannot locate your loan information here, your loan is probably private. You can check with your loan servicer to confirm.
Step 2: Know your rights
If you believe your lender or servicer is not treating you in good faith, you have options for recourse.
Federally-backed Home Loans
If your loan is backed by the federal government then the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates your lender and loan servicer. The CFPB is a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly. On July 23, 2021 the Biden Administration announced new financing options available to federally backed loan borrowers. Even if you are already working with your loan servicer, you should understand all of the options available to you. Borrowers who are experiencing hardship and haven’t yet talked with their loan servicers should make that call now. Find out whether you qualify for a forbearance that temporarily suspends your payments, a loan modification that may reduce your monthly payment, or other options.
- COVID-19 Recovery Standalone Partial Claim: For homeowners who can resume their current mortgage payments, HUD will provide borrowers with an option to continue these payments by offering a zero interest, subordinate lien (also known as a partial claim) that is repaid when the mortgage insurance or mortgage terminates, such as upon sale or refinance;
- COVID-19 Recovery Modification: For homeowners who cannot resume making their current monthly mortgage payments, the COVID-19 Recovery Modification extends the term of the mortgage to 360 months at market rate and targets reducing the borrowers’ monthly P&I portion of their monthly mortgage payment by 25 percent. This will achieve significant payment reduction for many struggling homeowners by extending the term of the mortgage at a low interest rate, combined with a partial claim, if partial claims are available.
Private Portfolio Home Loans
If your loan is NOT backed by the federal government, there are 2 federal agencies that regulate banks. While some banks have set up programs that basically follow the federal guidelines, the forbearance periods, terms, and repayment options do vary from bank to bank.
- The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) oversees national banks and federally chartered savings banks/associations.
- The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) oversees state-chartered banks, credit unions, and savings associations
Step 3: Get help with a government backed loan using these resources:
If your loan is backed by the federal government, you may still qualify for programs providing payment relief including a forbearance plan or loan modification. If your loan is backed by the federal government and your forbearance period has ended and you need help with your loan servicer, you have access to FREE personalized assistance from HUD-approved Florida housing counselors. See more on forbearance credit monitoring here.
Find Florida HUD-approved housing counselors at (800) 569-4287 or visit Florida Housing Counseling Agencies
The HOPE NOW alliance has a 24-hour national hotline to provide mortgage counseling assistance in multiple languages. Reach this hotline by dialing, 1-888-995-HOPE.
For veterans who need help please contact a VA loan technician at 877-827-3702.
Step 4: If you need to file a complaint, file a complaint with the correct agency based on the type of loan you have
|Government backed OR private loans
||Florida Attorney General’s office||1-866-9-NO-SCAM||File a complaint|
Government backed loans
|Consumer Financial Protection Bureau||(855) 411-2372||File a complaint|
Private loans through a national bank or federally chartered savings bank/association
Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC)
|(800) 613-6743||File a complaint|
Private loans through a state-chartered banks, credit union, or savings association
|Florida Office of Financial Regulation||File a complaint|
Private loans through a Credit Union
National Consumer Assistance Center
|(800) 755-1030||File a complaint|
Step 5: Seek legal advice
|Free||Armed Forces Legal Assistance||1-877-4AID-VET||Armed Forces Legal Assistance site|
|Free||Age 60+ Florida Senior Legal Helpline||1-888-895-7873|
|Free||Florida Bar Legal Referral Service for private attorneys||1-800-342-8011|
|Free or reduced cost||Florida Legal Services for low-cost or pro bono assistance through a legal aid office in your area.||https://www.floridalawhelp.org/intake?cat=HO-00-00-00-00|
Step 6: Follow up with Floridians For Honest Lending
Follow us for updates about Homeowners Rights in the Sunshine State, and what we are doing to protect borrowers. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for updates at the bottom of this page.
Do you have a loan forbearance story you to tell your legislators and media outlets?