Home Loan in Forbearance? Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Announce a New Payment Deferral Option

Forbearance. A word that some homeowners know all to well. A mortgage forbearance agreement is made between a mortgage lender and a delinquent borrower in which the lender agrees not to exercise its legal right to foreclose on a mortgage and the borrower agrees to a mortgage plan that will bring the borrower current on his or her mortgage.

With nearly 4 million borrowers in forbearance on their mortgage, we still don’t have a complete picture of what happens when forbearance periods end. Borrowers got some clarity on the situation last month, when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said that borrowers are not required to repay all their missed payments at once.

And as it turns out, borrowers in forbearance may not have to repay their missed payments at all until the end of their loan thanks to a new repayment option from the GSEs.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced Wednesday that they are rolling out a new payment deferral option for borrowers in forbearance.

Under the new program, borrowers who took forbearance due to a coronavirus-related issue will not have to repay their missed payments until the borrower sells their house, refinances their current mortgage, or their mortgage matures.

According to the GSEs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the deferral option is available to borrowers in forbearance who regain the ability to pay their mortgage on time. Under the program, the borrower simply starts making their mortgage payments again when they’re able and any missed payments are deferred to the end of their loan.

“For homeowners in forbearance due to COVID-19, payment deferral allows them to make up missed forbearance payments when they sell their home or refinance,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said. “This new forbearance repayment solution responsibly simplifies options for homeowners while providing an additional tool for mortgage servicers. Borrowers who can pay their mortgage should, because missed payments remain an obligation that will ultimately have to be repaid.”

The CARES Act stipulates that a borrower whose mortgage is backed by either the government or the GSEs who is experiencing a COVID-19-related hardship can request and must be granted forbearance of up to 180 days, which then may be extended for another 180 days.

The issue is that forbearance is not forgiveness, therefore borrowers in forbearance have to repay their missed mortgage payments one way or another.

The GSEs’ new payment deferral allows borrowers who took forbearance to shift as many as 12 months of mortgage payments to the end of their loan.

“This option is for homeowners who have completed a COVID-19 related forbearance plan and are able to continue making their full monthly contractual payment but cannot afford full reinstatement or a repayment plan to bring their mortgage loan current,” Fannie Mae said in a release.

According to Freddie Mac, the “COVID-19 Payment Deferral solution” reinstates a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment to its pre-forbearance amount by adding up to 12 months of missed payments, including escrow advances, to the end of the mortgage term without accruing any additional interest or late fees.