Mortgage giant Freddie Mac will defer October and November mortgage payments for single-family borrowers affected by Hurricane Rita, the government-sponsored enterprise said Tuesday.

In addition to suspending the next two months of mortgage payments, Freddie Mac is also extending Hurricane Rita survivors the special mortgage servicing relief policies it announced after Hurricane Katrina to ease the financial pressures on borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages.

The temporary suspension applies to Freddie Mac-owned single-family loans in federally declared disaster areas where FEMA’s Individual Assistance programs are being made available. None of these temporary measures will affect Freddie Mac’s guarantee on its mortgage participation certificates, the company said.

“We are determined to go the extra mile to help Texas and Louisiana borrowers cope with this year’s unusually destructive storms in the Gulf of Mexico,” Freddie Mac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard F. Syron said in a statement.

“Protecting investors while helping borrowers overcome unexpected shocks like Hurricanes Rita and Katrina is part of Freddie Mac’s mission to keep America’s housing finance system affordable, stable and liquid,” Syron said.

After November, servicers have the discretion to continue suspending or reducing payments on Freddie Mac-owned mortgages for a total of 12 months on a case-by-case basis, depending upon each borrower’s specific circumstances, the company said.

Servicers must make their determinations before the mortgage’s December payment due date. A servicer is the company to which borrowers send their monthly mortgage payments.

For those borrowers who may have already made their October mortgage payments, Freddie Mac is giving its servicers the discretion to automatically return payments withdrawn through an automated clearinghouse but not yet reported to Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant said.

Borrowers who made their October payments through other means have the option to contact their servicers to request their payment’s return. In either case, borrowers will still be required to work with their servicer to reinstate their mortgage once the temporary suspension period ends, Freddie Mac said.


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