Help for Mortgage Borrowers Facing Payment Problems
Consumers who expect to have trouble making their mortgage payments are reminded to contact their loan servicer as soon as possible to explore options for avoiding foreclosure.
And in a recent development, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) from year-end 2013 through December 31, 2015. Under HAMP, mortgage companies work with eligible borrowers to lower monthly payments by modifying loan terms and reducing interest rates.
New Ways to Counter Harmful Debt Collection Practices
In July 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published five letters that consumers can consider using in replying to debt collectors about inappropriate or unwanted collection activities, depending on their situation. The CFPB also announced that it is accepting complaints from consumers experiencing debt collection problems related to credit cards, auto loans, medical bills and any other consumer debt. To learn more, start at www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/debtcollection.
Check Out the FDIC’s Database of Bank Information
If you need information about a bank, the FDIC’s BankFind, our popular online directory of insured institutions at http://research.fdic.gov/bankfind, is now faster and easier to use. By searching BankFind, you can determine whether an institution is FDIC-insured and locate its branches. You can also review a bank’s history and learn if it has merged, changed names or no longer exists. Recent enhancements make the tool easier to access using a mobile device.
New, Improved Federal Site for Financial Education
The federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission, of which the FDIC is a member, has unveiled a new and improved version of MyMoney.gov, the central Web site with information on handling personal finances from more than 20 federal government agencies.
The site now revolves around the “MyMoney Five,” five key building blocks for managing and growing your money. In general, they are: (1) understanding your earnings, including deductions and withholdings; (2) saving and investing for future goals; (3) protecting your financial situation by, for example, watching out for fraud; (4) spending wisely; and (5) borrowing carefully. In addition, the Web site features interactive quizzes and information about financial choices involving major life events. Access the site at www.mymoney.gov.