Are There Credit Consequences of Mortgage Forbearance?
As directed by the CARES Act, lenders must offer forbearance to anyone that experiences a hardship due to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, and cannot report those payments as late on your credit report.
While a late payment may not be reported (yet), what is being reported is the fact that your loan is in forbearance. I also found this snapshot on Facebook showing a mortgage credit line reporting in forbearance.
It was also reported by another mortgage professional friend of mine that his client had a similar reporting on the credit report, and it resulted in a 30+ point drop in their credit score.
This was obviously concerning, and I wanted to better understand how this could have happened. If your credit score is going to drop, that seems like something most people would want to know about when trying to navigate your options. We need to talk to an expert!
Sam Parker, CEO MyCreditGuy.com
Sam is a long time friend for a couple of reasons. First, he’s an entrepreneur and runs a family-owned business with his equally amazing wife, Tricia. We always try to support small businesses that share our values.
The second reason I really appreciate Sam Parker is that he really cares about protecting consumers. I can always count on Sam having the empathy and the insight to give excellent advice that anyone listening should follow.
Not only did we get to talk about the credit consequences of forbearance, but Sam also shares some really valuable advice about budgeting that we’re all guilty of needing to tighten that belt a little bit.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam on April, 21st 2020 about all this and more. If you are a consumer or a mortgage and real estate professional, visit MyCreditGuy.com to learn more. Below are the video of our live interview (from home!) and the transcript of our conversation.
For more information about mortgage forbearance, please visit our special resource created to help homeowners better navigate through important decisions – ForbearanceReport.com
– I am Scott Schang, and I’m a mortgage broker in California. And my partner, Josh Lewis and I have really kind of been on top of some of the challenges that are coming, that are gonna come up due to the forbearance.
The forbearance laws, or the forbearance rules that are coming out because of this whole COVID crisis. And we’ve been working really hard to get in front of consumers and explain to folks what this really means. And Sam Parker is the founder and CEO of My Credit Guy, and he is a credit preservation specialist.
I like to clarify that because I think credit repair companies and Sam and I have had this conversation before on Find My Way Home, credit repair kind of implies we’re gonna go fix it. His company is really good at educating and helping people prepare themselves and taking the proper steps to make informed and educated decisions in order to improve your credit score and preserve it.
So, Sam was the perfect guy that I wanted to have this conversation with because we’re starting to see things, we’re starting to hear things, and I have fears, whether they’re rational or irrational. And I figured you know what, let’s get the smartest person I know on the line and let’s talk to him. So, Sam, thanks for joining me, I appreciate this.
– Hey, man, how’s it going? I appreciate you having me and, and hopefully, I don’t disappoint here.
– No, you don’t disappoint this is what you do. So, Sam, you’ve kind of been, you’re really big in our industry, in the mortgage industry and you work a lot with loan officers. You work with lenders to help consumers get in a position to go out. So, you’ve been having a lot of these conversations in sort of our lender groups.
And they’re great conversations. But I don’t know that this information is necessarily getting to consumers. So, I’m gonna rehash some of the stuff that I’ve heard you say and some of the concerns that I’ve had. And I really kind of wanna have this conversation for consumers to understand a little bit about what this means.
And the first kind of point that I heard you say that I really liked. And one of the things that really kind of irked me from the beginning, not irked but I knew that there was, I knew that it was gonna hit the fan.
And the media kind of when they can’t when they started announcing forbearance, and let’s explain forbearance real quick, is a hardship workout option, that’s already, that’s available with all lenders, if you have a problem, or if you have a hardship, you can call your servicer and you can say, hey, I’m gonna have problems, I’m gonna have challenges making my mortgage payments, what options do you have for me so that I don’t lose my home.
And forbearance is one of those. What forbearance specifically is, is postponing your payments for a short period of time. And then under normal forbearance guidelines, the first way, the first cure option is that you make off all of the payments at once, at the end, it’s called reinstatement. So, once you go into forbearance, you’re in forbearance, your payments are stopped, and then you have to reinstate your loan at that point, ’cause your loan is kind of on hold.
And what happened is what the government did is the government came out and said, hey, lenders, I want you to help folks with this. But don’t make them jump through a bunch of hoops. Essentially, I wanna say they wanted to say you don’t have to prove that you have a hardship, lenders, servicers just have to give you this hardship, they just have to postpone your payments.
But they say it real quick that you don’t have to prove the hardship. And when I look at all of the different servicers guidelines, they all say that you are affirming that you are having a hardship. So, this is what kind of scares me, is the government is saying you don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to prove that you have a hardship, but you’re gonna check a box that says I have a hardship.
And then when there were then you don’t have to make your payments anymore, right. So, that’s essentially what forbearance is, and the last report that I saw this morning is there was almost 6% of all mortgages out there are in a forbearance program right now.
And what is really scaring the hell out of me is all over YouTube, all over social media, I’m seeing people from the real estate and mortgage space, presenting this as an opportunity, and not the crisis that it is. And I heard you mention that. And it really just, it struck me and I was just like, that’s really what it is. And I feel like a downer going out there and telling everyone, this isn’t an opportunity.
No matter what you do, this isn’t an opportunity to take advantage of, this is a crisis and if you are in a crisis situation, there are options. So, I saw the other day. Well, so the the lender said that or the government said, we’re not gonna report late payments, to your, don’t report the late payments. But they are reporting, or what I’ve seen on one occasion, and I don’t know if you’ve seen more of these.
But I’ve seen where it says that it’s reported that it is in forbearance, and that it is impact credit scores. And when I saw that, I think that’s when I reached out to you. Because it’s not supposed to be affecting people’s credit scores, at least that most people think.
So, why don’t you explain to me like you kind of explained this to me. And it was a real aha moment for me. So, what’s going on with that?
– Yeah, so there’s not like a direct negative impact, meaning I’m gonna be in forbearance. And so then my credit score gets dinged because I’m in forbearance. However, what happens is the same rule like for the lenders watching this or anybody that’s been through the mortgage process, the same rules that apply where you can’t have an account in dispute, right, because during that dispute process, that account is removed from the scoring algorithm to give the client the benefit of the doubt.
Well, during the forbearance process, a similar mechanism is activated where, yes, you’re in forbearance, because of that, it kind of puts a bubble around that account. And it’s not helping you or hurting you. It’s just on pause. It’s just in forbearance right now. And so because of that, it’s not being calculated into the credit score, you’re not getting that positive pay history associated with it.
So, because of that, it’s like taking your arguably your biggest most important account out of the credit scoring algorithm. Now, it’s not done to punish you, but it’s a byproduct of the forbearance process.
– So, that’s super valuable because what I was afraid of it because we had mentioned before forbearance is not something that they just made up and said, hey, let’s do this. So lender, credit companies, they all have these mechanisms in place for doing for granting a forbearance, reporting a forbearance, getting back out of a forbearance. So, that was kind of my concern and I thought it was a code.
Because sometimes when you have errors, they put codes on there that you don’t necessarily see. That can sometimes act like if you’re trying to get approved for a mortgage. Now, you know that. So, if the only reason why your score would drop, or if one of the reasons your score would drop is because of its big removed from your credit history. Would you say that you would get like if it dropped 35 points?
It reinstated your loan. Could you reasonably expect to get those 35 points back?
– Yeah, be very similar to it never happened. If and honestly you might be coming back in better off because by then if other things have improved on the credit and that gets added, three months later, already, you’ve cut up on all your other payments, then hypothetically, you should have more payment history from the other accounts. And then that being added. So, but to answer your question, yes, it should basically undo what it just did.
– So okay, so that’s amazing. I think that’s really important. Because the people that truly do have a hardship and truly do need the forbearance, it almost sounds like this is a good solution. Where I start to get concerned is when I start reading the workout options of the servicers and what they’re willing to let people do.
And so my concern with that is, what if at that point, at the point of reinstatement, what if then the lender requires them to prove that they had a hardship. So, for instance, I saw something the other I saw something earlier today that said, well, all Fannie and Freddie loans, you don’t have to make all full payments at once.
d it’s true Fannie Mae did come out with a payment deferment plan, that they will allow all anybody who they’re servicing to go into, and that’s probably about what, 50, 49, 50%, close to half of the mortgages that are out there. But I read the details of the Fannie Mae plan and the Fannie Mae deferment plan. And so deferment is kind of your best case scenario, I think, right?
So, your options at the end of the forbearance, or you pay it all at once, you can spread those skipped payments out over a period of time, which means you went from zero payment to a payment higher than your normal mortgage payment for a period of time. Or deferment, which is where they take those payments, they put them on the end of the loan, it doesn’t accrue interest, it just sits there and it’s a balloon payment that you have to pay off at the end of the loan.
So, Fannie Mae’s, and this is the thing that concerns me. So, Fannie Mae’s guidelines specifically say that you have to be 30 days late, a minimum of three months in a row. You cannot be greater than 60 days late. And you have to be current for the month that you apply for the deferment in.
And that is the Fannie Mae guideline, that’s got red flags all over it for me, because that means you have to be in that forbearance for a minimum of 30 days, and what I’m saying so I’ve got a friend who was clicking around the Wells Fargo site, and ended up getting into forbearance.
Then I started talking to him, and he was like, oh, wow, okay, I guess I well, no, actually, I didn’t talk to him until after April. So, he went into forbearance. Then he tried to make his April payment, and Wells Fargo won’t accept it. So, these are the challenges. It’s not that anybody’s doing anything wrong.
But I guess the message that I’m trying to put out there is don’t do this unless you absolutely have to. Because nobody knows what this thing looks like on the other side, the servers don’t know, the lenders don’t know, the credit companies aren’t gonna rewrite the rules, they’re not gonna rewrite their algorithm to be able to to be able to account for this.
So, everything stays the same as far as reporting and challenges and things like that. So, here’s something that I really wanted to go over with you and so this was some messaging And it might not be accurate. Hopefully, you’ll correct me if it’s not. Let’s say I am having financial challenges. There’s a lot of other debts, that I can negotiate and forbear, that I can defer or that I can just play an old skip before start missing mortgage payments.
And that kind of the advice that I’m trying to put out there is, I’m saying, so I heard you talk about this on another interview. Can you talk a little bit about how do you reach out to your other creditors? And what order? Should you I guess strategic default, like if you’re gonna go under, do it one finger at a time slipping off the edge of ledge of the cliff.
– Yeah, exactly. So, if you’re trying to hang on first and foremost, you have to do a budget. The thing that, the funny thing is, I remember what it’s like guys before my wife and I gotten on a budget in my early 20s. I remember she’d be like, hey, we gotta sit down and do a budget. I remember being like, I don’t want to, like and I get frustrated and mad is ’cause like, I did not want to deal with the problem. And that was what I was involved in credit already.
So, I know that that part sucks. It’s stuff that you don’t, for some reason, it’s like we just don’t wanna admit the money we’re wasting and so you need to Sit down and go through a budget, look yourself in the mirror and say I do not need Hulu, Netflix, Prime. And you know what I mean? Like cut some things out, first and foremost there is money in your budget that you’re spending on things.
And you know what I’m talking about too. I don’t even, it’s for some people, it’s one little habit for some. So anyway, there’s money in your budget that can go to getting you through this.
– And it’s all those 999 subscriptions and those 1599 subscriptions, you think, well, it’s only 15 bucks a month. Yeah, but you got 10 of them, that are hit your account every single but can you live without some of those things for the next three months?
– Exactly, exactly, so first and foremost, budget, remove redundancies and then remove the frills. I don’t tell people just gut everything right away ’cause we still need to be humans and we still need to make it through this thing. But what’s the most important, those things or getting a home loan and getting a home for your family, right. So, you gotta have some decisions to make.
So, first and foremost budget, then what you’re gonna look at is what the government has already told us. And again, we’re telling you on one side of things to be very skeptical of what they’re saying and to be hesitant. But what we do know is that utilities, things like that, that they’re not gonna turn those off during the crisis. However, as people are starting to triage those, remember there are states, like I’m thinking like Wisconsin off the top of my head, they report utilities.
So, they I believe that during this crisis, they’re not supposed to report late, but again, you don’t want to build anything up that you don’t need to that could come back to bite you. But what you’re looking for now, are your bills that don’t report to credit.
So, look at your credit report, and you’re gonna see like, oh, this one is a bill that might not hit me long term. And then but no matter what, guys, if you owe somebody money, get on the phone with them, talk to them, discuss it with them. Anybody that you’re not paying money to you no matter how big and mean, you think that company is, that means that a service or a good was provided to you that went uncompensated for, right.
So, that that trickles down. But if you get on the phone with people, what you’re gonna find is what Scott said is well before the COVID crisis. Everybody already had hardship programs for various programs that went in the right situations. So, anyway, I’m rambling. But my point is just.
– No, you’re not.
– You wanna start by finding the money that you already have, but you’re wasting and then you wanna preserve your credit report by looking at the bills that aren’t hitting the credit and pay the ones that you do have on what the what my point is the ones that you do have on there, your credit card companies, your auto loans, things like that if you call them they’re more than likely gonna give you some time off for some reason.
Well, and then all of a sudden, boom, there’s 300 bucks that you thought you were gonna have to pay on credit cards, plus your Ford, more motor gave you, a month or three deferment. So, there’s 500, there’s a lot, all of a sudden there’s your mortgage payment, you just kind of do a little bit of calling, but don’t just assume that anybody’s gonna be giving you a month or two or three off. It doesn’t work like that.
– And, listen, this is challenging, but the people that are expecting to get paid right now don’t think they’re going to, so yo going out there. Well, that I mean, that’s another piece of this is there’s a lot of people that just aren’t making their payments ’cause they assume, well, oh, we don’t have to make mortgages right now.
That’s not the case your mortgage is due, it’s going to be reported late unless you go through the process with the servicer and get the forbearance done. But what you said I’ve had forbearance on auto loans before and actually it was right around 2008, 2009. And they were really cool to work with, the credit card companies and the auto loans.
They’ll work with you, they’ll delay your payments, they’ll push your payments, and that’s not gonna impact you nearly as much. One of the bigger challenges not only do we wanna preserve homeownership, but we wanna people’s credit ratings, too, because anybody that’s paying attention to this, interest rates are crazy low right now, they should be about five, eight slower, and they will get lower than they are today.
So one thing that, we don’t really know that much about I’ve heard from a couple of servicers that basically say, unless your loan is reinstated, after a forbearance, you can’t refinance, and I’ve heard some servicers say that you can refinance for a year after claim forbearance.
– I’ve heard that it could be as much as five years as like overlay, if depending on the cure solution that you choose, after the for it could be a lot longer than what people are thinking, but it most likely is not going to be something that you get out of it tomorrow, and that you’re immediately eligible for conventional financing because you have to remember that the credits cover them as a risk-based model adopted by banking.
So, everybody’s just worried about risk, right? That’s it is, what are the chances that you’re not gonna pay me is what a credit score is, again, it’s not like a positive thing. It’s a again, it’s a risk-based negative kind of model. And so if they look at your decisions in forbearance as indicators, which they are, you’re raising your hand and saying, I can’t possibly afford to pay my mortgage, and then depending on what happens after the 90 days, you will raise your hand again thinking that you’re being tactical.
And you might say, not only can I not afford to pay my mortgage now, but I couldn’t, I don’t even know how I’m gonna figure it out, you gotta bump it all the way to the back of the payment, you’re not gonna be able to turn around a month later and say I’m a great candidate for a move-up purchase, or I’m a great candidate for you to invest in.
You literally just told somebody, you need all the help in the world just to stay current on what you have. So, you gotta be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you’re building your financial resume to say because again, forbearance is there for you if you need it, by all means, I am not telling you don’t take this or shame on you. I’m saying if you don’t need it, it is not for you.
– Listen, if you don’t need it, and you think it’s free money, that’s the same thing as cutting in front of a food line with a bunch of homeless people because it was more convenient than going home and getting lunch and you’re taking up a lot of somebody else’s mouth, right. I mean, it’s not a good thing and what my fear is, is on the other side of this, again, like you said, we have no idea.
The servicers don’t know what the workout looks like, they’re kind of waiting for government guidance. They’re kind of waiting to see when everybody gets back to work. Because those are the factors that we don’t know. Yes, a lot of people predict the economy’s back and that it’s gonna be somewhat of a U or a V near a W or whatever.
Most people believe that the economy is gonna come back. But all jobs aren’t, right. And some
jobs are gonna take longer to come back than others. So, there are absolutely people that are going to need help. And all of the bank’s resources are going to be taken up, trying to keep those people from losing their home, if they truly are victims of this COVID crisis.
So, if you scroll up and you say, hey, I can’t come up with $15,000 to make my payment and they’re like, oh, no, I completely understand, you’re impacted by COVID. Just show me with us, show me the COVID stuff.
– Right. Exactly, what people need to understand is that the government came out and said, help them right now because they’re raising their hand and saying I need help. That’s as far as the no documentation part of it goes. Now, when they come back to reconcile on the backside of it, it doesn’t say anywhere that there’s not gonna be any questions asked anywhere.
It just says get the people the money that say they are identifying themselves as needing it.
So, you just don’t know what happens. And on the backside of things, whether, who knows what those repercussions look like too, Scott, I mean, we just don’t know. Like, is there gonna be an audit that says if you asked for it, we did give it to you and then we found out that you didn’t need it at all, who knows, but more than anything, it’s just that people need to have the facts so that they can make informed decisions and have a financial strategy so that they know if I do take the forbearance I know that when it comes day 90, here’s what has to happen.
Hey, honey, we have got to have four payments ready because we are doing the one-time balloon payment. We’re not using this money to go on vacation. We’re using it because we just need to stay liquid right now, okay, fair enough. So, now you made a good credit choice, you shouldn’t see any negative impacts of credit long term. But then you do have to keep in mind that there’s a whole nother world of after credit.
It’s like the political world of the banking, the protection, the loss mitigation, where a bank can come in and say, yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s all great, your credit was great. But see right here where it says that you were in forbearance, we’re gonna make this decision to protect ourselves, right.
So, there’s just added layers and I don’t think most consumers realize, that there are two or three different layers of there’s credit and then there’s lender overlays and load guidelines and all that fun stuff that stems from the credit report.
– Well, and I know there are people like to try to make parallels, and I don’t think there is a parallel between this and the mortgage crash of 2008. Other than in the sense that the reason why most people lost their homes is because they were getting loans on the honor system.
– No, that’s exactly yeah, it was stated income loans. It was subprime loans. It was Nina’s no-income, no-asset. It was, I’m embarrassed to say but we used to call them mirror fogger loans if you can fog a mirror, you can have a loan. And yeah, no, I mean, it’s like if you had a breath, your lungs do, you could get alone someplace.
I didn’t do those loans, but there were people that did. But then that and so the reckoning was, the market is crashing, you really aren’t in the financial position that you said you were in. And now here’s this big reckoning and that’s a little bit. So, it’s that honor system piece that really scares the heck out of me.
Because people have different ways of interpreting what an honor system is or whether they’re because some of the verbiage on this Sam is if you are impacted or feel like you will be. Forbearance and I’m like, I’m impacted. I’ve been sitting in my home for a month, right?
– Yeah, and got the wide open to interpretation for sure.
– So, what I wanna wrap this up, and I wanna wrap this up on a note that I heard you talk about that I think is so vitally important. Listen, if you are caught up in this crisis, if you’re a homeowner that needs forbearance, that’s absolutely fine. I have, I would go out on a limb and I would say that if you truly were impacted by COVID, and you needed the forbearance, you’re probably going to be okay, as long as your employment comes back and all of that kind of stuff, they’re gonna work with you, it’s the people that are.
But we kind of talked about prioritizing, if you’re gonna fall behind on something and if your credit cards if you pushed off the payments as far as you can, don’t make your credit card payments and start to strategically not make your payments or negotiate with those. And you said something really important the other day and I kind of like you to do the spiel. Credit is not a tattoo, right? This is a temporary situation, if everything is these three days, you end up damaging your credit a little bit. That’s where somebody like Sam Parker can help and what does that really mean on the other side of that about getting your credit scores back in order and back in line?
– Yeah, I mean, for anybody that’s either already dealing with credit issues or runs into some here. It’s a stressful time, to see that credit report, to see the alerts going, to know that your credit scores are going down. But it is a temporary thing and especially if you know that you’re going through this, you didn’t do anything wrong, right?
There is light at the end of the tunnel, credit can be fixed can be corrected if there are inaccuracies if there’s things like this, that happened, there will most definitely be goodwill actions that are requested and granted as part of this where, yeah, you might have some initial because what is supposed to happen and then what happens on credit are two different things, right.
And so, there might be the government and Fannie Freddie might be saying, hey, nobody worry about this, at day 90, nobody’s gonna get late pays. And we know there might be a glitch, or they’re, ’cause the system set up a certain way. There might be thousands of people that end up with late pays on their credit, just take a breath. It’ll be okay. You’re not dying. Nobody is dying because of this.
And that’s what I try to tell my clients all the time. I’m like, hey, you’re having the same responses as if somebody is about to die right now, aren’t you? And they’re like, yeah I am, well, nobody’s dying, everything’s okay. We’re gonna help you sort this out. It’s either a correction on the credit or it’s a game plan to get your credit back to where it needs to be.
Most of those can be done within just a couple of months, in some cases, weeks. So, there’s no situation Scott, that I run into where I’m running into a client who is ready, willing, even in a position that they should buy a home and I’m not saying that the judge, I’m just saying if you’re flat broke and can’t, like some people go like, oh, how can they pay for credit repair if they’re barely making ends meet?
Well, then they probably shouldn’t. I was either like, and I’m not saying that to be a jerk, but it’s just what’s gonna happen when that water heater goes out the very first time or is that gonna trigger a foreclosure? so, anyway, my point is just, there’s a plan for everybody and it’s usually a couple of weeks or a handful of months away, maybe six months worst case scenario.
If late pays get added to your credit report. It’s not a good thing, but it’s not the end of the world either, we can either get those corrected, or if they’re valid, then we’ll just figure out how to work around them. They are what they are, if they’re valid, and they’re not going anywhere, and there’s no point in, being super upset about it for a long time, it’s just time to get to work, so.
– Yeah, and you just said something really, really important, and I don’t wanna gloss over this. There’s a lot of stuff happening really fast and it’s possible that things will show up on your credit and they’ll be marked as late. But companies like Sam, anything that’s reported inaccurately on your credit report can be removed.
So, if if your credit card company claims that they’re you don’t get payments, and you don’t have to, and they’re not gonna report, but it shows up on your credit report, don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world. It might take a couple of phone calls, but you should be able to get that removed. So, I think that’s probably one of the most important messages I think that I got out of this Sam is we don’t know what’s going to happen.
But if you have a legitimate reason for him, if you legitimately have a hardship, you’re going to be okay. If a mistake is made, if something is accidentally reported, if something is reported, and the law says that it’s not. It’s going to get fixed, this isn’t the time to worry about this kind of stuff, this is a time to worry about your family, make sure everybody is safe, do the best you can to comply with whatever your local regulations are.
Don’t go out there out there protesting ’cause you’re tired of being in your house. We’re all tired of being in our house, but it’s going to be okay. And I put a forbearance report up there if anybody wants to get more information about forbearance, what the workout options are.
We have a list of almost 50 servicers on there with links to what all of their guidelines are and when we’re starting to get some good comments streams under some of these servicers with their experiences that they’re getting from the servicers.
And it’s a little scary, but maybe you can learn off of what other people are experiencing. So, if you need Sam, you can reach out to me You can go to mycreditguy.com. Just know that there are experts out there that can help you through this.
And if you have any questions, you can reach out to me either here on Facebook, you can reach out to us on forbearancereport, and we’re here to help, we usually in our professional capacity, we’re focusing on a different area of housing and credit patient. But now we’re focusing all of our efforts to help all of you kind of get through this same healthy on the other side, and everything will be fine.
We’ll get the credit fixed and everybody will be good. So Sam, I’m glad you’re doing well. Thank you so, so much for your input. That’s absolutely invaluable. And this probably won’t be the first time we do this. I have a feeling in about three to six months, we’re gonna be trying to unravel some of this stuff after.
– Yeah, we’ll see what the surprise is then so.
– Yeah, we’ll talk about that surprise. We’ll see how many of our predictions were accurate. So thanks, buddy. I appreciate it. Take care of yourself and we’ll talk to you soon.
– Oh, brother, have a good one.
Experienced & Expert Advice
Mortgage forbearance, deferment, and mortgage payment relief options are terms that are a part of many homeowner conversations today as we navigate the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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