Mortgage servicers can suspend mortgage payments or provide other short-term relief to borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages following Hurricane Wilma, the mortgage giant said today.

The policy applies to borrowers affected by Hurricane Wilma in federally declared major disaster areas, Freddie Mac said. Servicers collect monthly mortgage payments on Freddie Mac’s behalf.

Freddie Mac gives servicers the discretion to reduce or suspend mortgage payments for up to 12 months for borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages in the declared major-disaster areas, Freddie Mac said. Each case is individually assessed to determine the borrower’s situation and specific need for financial relief.

“By working together, Freddie Mac and the nation’s mortgage servicers can help relieve borrower anxiety about making next months mortgage payment so they can focus their energies on rebuilding their lives and homes,” said Richard F. Syron, Freddie Mac Chairman and CEO, in a statement.

“The relief measures we’re announcing today are also intended to expedite the release of insurance proceeds to help borrowers secure materials, labor and other resources to get the home repair process underway,” Syron said.

Freddie Mac’s disaster relief policies also strongly encourage servicers to extend several other measures to help affected borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned loans.

These include expediting the release of insurance proceeds to help borrowers secure materials, labor and other resources to repair their homes; waiving assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers with disaster-damaged homes; and not reporting forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to the nation’s credit bureaus.

Mortgage servicers working with Freddie Mac have helped more than 100,000 families over the past two years from losing their homes due to financial difficulties.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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