NEW YORK, March 6 New York state has asked banks
to offer homeowners who were allowed to skip mortgage payments
in the wake of Superstorm Sandy a relaxed repayment schedule,
instead of immediate lump-sum repayments, Governor Andrew Cuomo
said on Wednesday.
The Department of Financial Services is reviewing whether
banks have delivered on a promise not to start foreclosure
proceedings due to late payments in cases where homeowners were
heavily affected by the late October storm, Cuomo said.
"Many New Yorkers were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy and
couldn't pay their bills due to lost income, home repair
expenses, or relocation costs, so banks offered relief to
homeowners in the form of forbearance on mortgage payments,"
Cuomo said in a written statement.
"A homeowner who could come up with three months in mortgage
payments all at once probably didn't need forbearance in the
first place," he said. "Everyone else needs more time to repay."
Sandy crashed ashore with a record sea surge on Oct. 29,
damaging or destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and
commercial buildings, mostly in low-lying coastal areas of New
York and New Jersey.
Late last year, the state Department of Financial Services
obtained assurances that major banks and servicers would offer
homeowners who were hard-hit by the storm and struggling to make
mortgage payments a three- to six-month window to pay.
With the three-month forbearance period expiring, the
department is receiving reports that some homeowners have been
asked to make complete lump-sum payments and, in some cases,
received pre-foreclosure notices based on having missed payments
in the months since the storm.