If your pandemic relief is exhausted, here are the steps to postpone personal loans and mortgages


Second in a two-part series

For those struggling to cope with their debt, there are relief options available from banks, lenders, and the federal government.

In the second of two articles on these options, we take a look at personal and home loans. If you can’t pay your loans or soon won’t be able to, one of these programs can help.

Personal loans

Many banks are mobilizing to waive fees and help consumers stay on track with their loans despite lost income. For example, Marcus by Goldman Sachs allows clients to defer payments on their personal loans for one month without accumulating interest.

If you are unsure whether your lender offers personal loan assistance, contact them directly to ask. New programs may be announced over time, so check back regularly to see if help is available.

Home equity loans

Homeowners with home equity loans should contact their lenders if payments cannot be made on time. Some financial institutions offer a temporary deferral on home equity loans for those who are eligible.

For example, Bank of America offers a payment deferral of three months or more if your income has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re having trouble maintaining your home equity loan, call your lender to find out more about your options.

List of lenders offering loan relief

This is not an exhaustive list. Contact your lender for more details on the hardship assistance programs they offer.

  • Bank of America: Deferral of payment on home loans is available upon request.
  • PNC: The bank offers temporary hardship relief to qualified customers with auto loans, personal loans, mortgages, home equity loans or lines of credit and student loans. Customers can use an online portal or call a representative.
  • American Bank: People with a mortgage can benefit from a suspension of payment of up to 180 days with no late fees and an additional 180-day extension if they request it through their online account.

Other steps you might take now

Speaking with your lender as soon as possible is one of the most effective ways to get immediate payment relief in times of financial difficulty. In addition to setting up a deferral or forbearance, there are a few other things you can do if you can’t pay your loans.

  • Apply for unemployment benefits: The US bailout law of March 2021 increases the total number of weeks that individuals can receive unemployment benefits to 79 weeks.
  • Reduce discretionary spending: Review all of your non-essential expenses, like dining, shopping, and streaming subscriptions.
  • Refinance Your Loans: If you have strong credit, you may qualify for today’s low interest rates.
  • Consider Coronavirus Hardship Loan: Available from some banks and credit unions, Coronavirus Hardship Loans are short-term loans that usually have little or no interest.

Jennifer Calonia writes for Rate.com.

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