State Requires Regulated Banks to Grant 90-Day Reprieve on Residential Mortgage Payments

John Jordan | March 2020

ALBANY—The New York State Department of Financial Services announced on March 24 the issuance of an emergency regulation requiring New York State-regulated financial institutions provide residential mortgage forbearance on property located in New York for a period of 90 days to any New York resident who demonstrates financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The emergency regulation also requires that, during a specified time, New York regulated banking organizations eliminate fees charged for the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are owned or operated by the regulated banking organization, overdraft fees, and credit card late payment fees for any individual who demonstrates financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency regulation was adopted pursuant to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.9.

“Thanks to Governor Cuomo, DFS is further empowered to step up for New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell. “This emergency regulation provides a measure of much needed financial relief to New York residents with New York State mortgages on homes in New York State.”

The DFS emergency regulation provides that for the duration specified in the governor’s Executive Order, which may be extended, New York regulated institutions are required to:

• Make applications for forbearance of any payment due on a residential mortgage of a property located in New York widely available to any individual residing in New York who demonstrates financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and grant such forbearance for a period of 90 days;

• Provide the following financial relief to any individual who can demonstrate financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic: (i) eliminating fees charged for the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are owned or operated by the regulated banking organizations; (ii) eliminating any overdraft fees; and (iii) eliminating any credit card late payment fees.

Regulated institutions are not limited to offering the types of relief listed above. The DFS states that regulated institutions are encouraged, consistent with safe and sound banking practices, to assist individuals with a demonstrated financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in any additional manner they deem appropriate.

This emergency regulation is not applicable to, and does not affect any mortgage loans made, insured, or securitized by any agency or instrumentality of the United States, any Government-Sponsored Enterprise, or a Federal Home Loan Bank, or the rights and obligations of any lender, issuer, servicer or trustee of such obligations, including servicers for the Government National Mortgage Association. The emergency regulation also does not apply to any commercial mortgage or any other loan not described in the regulation.

For additional DFS regulatory actions on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.dfs.ny.gov/industry/coronavirus.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth