Banks will defer mortgage payments for customers unemployed due to COVID-19, Florida CFO says

Florida CFOJimmy Patronis: Applicants will receive 90-day extensions

Make Ends Meet: Florida CFO talks unemployment
Make Ends Meet: Florida CFO talks unemployment

The sweeping unemployment fallout triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has prompted banks across Florida to initiate deferred payment procedures for their home mortgage and home equity customers who find themselves out of work.

“We’ve been advocating for 90-days of deferred payments” State CFO Jimmy Patronis said.

During a Monday Skype interview the state CFO said he had a telephone conference call with lenders along with the Office of Financial Regulation last week to “aggregate all those together as a clearing house” for the solutions the lenders have developed.

Wells Fargo issued a statement Monday that confirmed the lender is “granting an immediate 3-month payment suspension for any home mortgage or home equity customer who makes a request.”

“We have seen all those financial institutions come forward with their own pro-active solutions," Patronis said. “This isn’t for everybody, you’ll need to show that your employer let you go.”

Patronis said the payment policy will soon be seen from insurance companies including Citizens Property Insurance.

The veteran CFO said the state insurance company has agreed to allow a 45-day deferred payment period much like in the event of a hurricane.

“You’re going to see more and more where companies are being flexible,’ he said.

On Wednesday, Shannon Tosney, an unemployed single mother, was on her 8th day of trying to file for Florida unemployment benefits but again, the system failed her.

“That’s what we’re all going through," she said. "Hundreds if not hundreds of thousands with no money at all.”

Tosney and her 9-year old son Christian have already made budget cuts to the basics dropping cable and streaming services as well as setting the thermostat to 80.

Her story did catch the attention of viewers who wanted to help

A retired school teacher who asked to be only identified as Pam wanted to cover Tosney’s internet bill for the next 3-months.

“That’s one of the nicest gestures I could ever receive,” Tosney said. “I am honestly speechless.”

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News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.