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BANKS, LOANS, AND MORTGAGES

Address mortgage and rent concerns now. Contact your bank or credit union immediately regarding mortgage assistance. If you rent, call your landlord to let them know if you cannot pay your rent.


HOMESTREET BANK

HomeStreet Bank provided the following mortgage advice for community members.

If your mortgage is serviced by HomeStreet Bank and you have been impacted by COVID-19 and would like to request a payment forbearance or deferral, you may emailloanservice@homestreet.com.  Please provide your full name, loan number, and a good contact phone number and they will reach out to you within 48 hours. You may also call 1-844-544-9071 to reach a dedicated Loan Counselor. Please be aware call volumes are high and hold times are longer than normal. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.   

If you’re among those financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, you might be concerned about how to pay your mortgage or rent.  As a result of the CARES Act, Federal and state governments have announced plans to help struggling homeowners during this time.

Major mortgage relief options during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Mortgage forbearance

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time.  Forbearance doesn’t erase what you owe – you’ll have to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future—but it can protect your credit if you miss part or all of your payments during this period.

  • If you can’t pay your mortgage, or can only pay a portion, contact your mortgage servicer immediately.  
    • It may take a while to get your loan servicer on the phone due to the extremely high call volume they are receiving.
    • Have your account number handy.
    • You may need to explain why you’re unable to make your payment and provide details about your income, assets, and expenses
  • Once you’re able to secure forbearance or another mortgage relief option, ask your servicer to provide written documentation that confirms the details of the agreement.
  • Protections for renters

The CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions if your landlord has a federally backed mortgage or multi-family mortgage, and you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020.  If the property you rent isn’t covered by the CARES Act, many states have suspended all evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic.

For more details about the coronavirus mortgage or rental relief options, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau webpage at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/#request-assistance.


FIRST HAWAIIAN BANK

First Hawaii Bank is reaching out to customers who need forbearance and deferrals for mortgage, PayAnyDay, and auto loans, as well as consumer and business credit cards. According to the site, “First Hawaiian Bank is committed to helping our customers recover from financial difficulties due to COVID-19. We encourage any customer experiencing financial hardship to apply for one of our relief programs.”


BANK OF HAWAII

Bank of Hawaii has instituted a loan forbearance program for up to 6 months because of COVID-19 and a loan extension program.  See details below:

Forbearance Program:
• Provides loan forbearance for up to 6 months for residential mortgages, home equity loans and home equity lines in the amortization period.
• Forbearance amount can include a partial loan payment up to full payment based on the amount the borrower can afford to pay.
• The total amount of payments deferred will be due on the first due date following the end of the forbearance tern, or according to the terms of the repayment plan.

Extension Program:
• Provides a loan extension for up to 6 months for products, including: direct installment (personal loans) and indirect loans (auto).
• Principal and interest payments will be deferred for the term of the extension.
• Full payments are due on the first due date following the end of the term of extension.


AMERICAN SAVINGS BANK

American Savings Bank is offering solutions to help customers who may be facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Qualifying customers could receive a loan forbearance or extension of up to 3 months. We encourage customers who may be impacted or need assistance to reach out by emailing hardship@asbhawaii.com or by calling (808) 846-4645 (unsecured loans) and (808) 846-4626 (real estate secured loans).


CENTRAL PACIFIC BANK

Residential Mortgage Payment Deferral
If you need relief from your residential mortgage payments Central Pacific Bank is partnering with Dovenmuehle (DMI) to work with customers on a program

To request a mortgage payment deferral, call DMI at 800-669-4268.

If you have questions regarding our programs to assist customers dealing with the impact of COVID-19, contact us at COVID19@cpb.bank.


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED MORTGAGES

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress and signed by the President on March 27, 2020, provides some relief to homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages. If you have a home loan through the Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 184a, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and are unable to pay your mortgage, you are eligible to postpone your payments for up to one year.

You must submit a request to your mortgage servicer stating that you are suffering a hardship directly or indirectly related to the coronavirus. The mortgage suspension—commonly called “forbearance”—will be granted for 180 days. If you need an extension of another 180 days, you must request it.

Be aware that the amount that isn’t paid will be due at the end of the forbearance period.

Landlords who own properties with federally-guaranteed loans or who are participating in federal housing programs are prohibited from evicting or charging fees for unpaid rent starting March 27 and for the next 120 days.

For help from a trained housing counselor, call (800) 569-4287 or visit www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor/.


HOUSING

APRIL 17, 2020 UPDATE—Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation that takes effect today and includes a moratorium on evictions in the state of Hawaii. The proclamation suspends laws that allow evictions for failure to pay rent, lease, or other fees. The eviction moratorium will be in force through the disaster relief period, which continues through April 30, 2020 and may be extended.

Click HERE for the press release “Governor Ige Orders Eviction Moratorium.”

Click HERE for the entire text of the “Fifth Supplementary Proclamation.”

Click HERE for a story by HawaiiNewsNow.com.


APRIL 1, 2020 UPDATE:—The State Office of Consumer Protection provided answers to commonly asked questions by landlords and renters today. Click HERE to see the release titled “STATE PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS – Landlord Tenant FAQs.”


FEDERAL AND STATE TAX FILING DEADLINES

The deadlines for filing both federal and state have been extended for a few months—so if you owe taxes to the government, you have a little breathing room. However, you should file as soon as you are able and not wait until the last minute, especially if you are expecting a refund.

New federal tax deadline: July 15, 2020
New state (Hawaii) tax deadline: July 20, 2020


MANAGING YOUR MONEY

The following article on managing your money after a layoff was written by retired ILWU Social Services Coordinator Joanne Kealoha.

Managing Your Money (When You’re Unemployed)

Note: This information is adapted in part from “Overcoming Job Loss: A Family Guide,” published by the Center on the Family, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1997.

With unemployment, a family loses income. For a time, unemployment benefits are available, but it’s often far less than the unemployed worker’s usual earnings and only lasts for 26 weeks. [The 2020 CARES Act extends unemployment benefits for 13 additional weeks, if necessary.] Loss or reduction in income will mean workers and their families must make hard choices and tighten their belts until a new job and better times come along. The following is a guide to help you through the hard times.

JOB LOSS IS A FAMILY AFFAIR
You’re not the only one affected by your unemployment. If you have dependents, your whole family is affected. That is why you should involve them right away to understand your family’s income and financial resources, to discuss ways to reduce your expenses, and to set priorities for spending. Don’t panic, but be honest with your spouse and children about your current financial situation. Working together will help reduce future conflicts and stress.

WHAT TO DO
l. Take stock of your family’s financial resources. Look at all sources of regular income your family gets—including wages, unemployment benefits, social security, pension or rent income. Also look at all sources of income that come in once in a while—like tax refunds, severance payments, gifts, and occasional work (e.g., babysitting). Then take a look at your assets (what you own)—including savings and property that could be traded, sold or used as security to reduce debt or raise money.

2. Make a list of your family’s expenses. There are two categories of expenses. Fixed expenses are those you must pay every month—like rent or mortgage, car and other loan payments, and health and car insurance. These fixed expenses must be paid, although some adjustments may be possible for loan payments. Variable expenses are flexible and change every month depending on how much you use or buy. These expenses include food, utilities, clothing, entertainment/recreation, and gifts. Together with your family, list what you spend now and examine how you can reduce these variable expenses.

3. Develop a budget—and stick to it! Calculate your monthly income and spending needs, then develop a budget for your family. Use the sample Monthly Budget Worksheet and Spending Tracking Form to identify your monthly expenses and where reductions can be made.

For example, eating out can be cut back, gifts and donations can be eliminated for the time being, clothes shopping can be reduced to only necessities, and luxury food items (like alcohol) can be reduced or eliminated. Make a list before grocery shopping to help you plan your spending and not buy on impulse. Use coupons, buy in bulk, and comparison-shop. Whether you like it or not, your lifestyle must change during this period if you are to survive it.

4. Work with your creditors (those to whom you owe money). The most important thing to remember is: do not ignore your creditors. If you cannot make the full monthly payment, contact your creditor right away. Creditors are usually willing to work out payment plans because they want to get paid eventually. Payment plans could include making smaller monthly payments or paying only the interest charge for a short time.

Rent and mortgage should be at the top of your list of payments each month. Being evicted or facing foreclosure will only compound your problems. If you can’t pay the amount in full each month, talk with your landlord or lender for some consideration.

If your child is attending college or a private school, be sure to contact the school to look into financial aid. Colleges will consider changes in financial circumstances when awarding financial aid packages.

5. Consider debt consolidation. Contact your creditors and negotiate the lowest acceptable monthly payment to each creditor. You can consolidate debts yourself by taking out a loan (credit unions are likely to be more helpful) to pay off your debts and make one monthly payment to the lender.

6. Refrain from using credit cards. Although it might seem easy and convenient to charge all expenses on your credit cards, the charges add up very quickly as will the finance charges, which will make your purchases even more costly. Especially do not take cash advances from your credit cards because finance charges are usually extra high.

SUMMARY
Managing your money when you’re unemployed may seem almost impossible. Your whole family has needs and you only have so much money. But it CAN BE DONE with planning and good communication with everyone in your family. Involve your family in working on your finances so that you can concentrate on your most important task of finding yourself a new job or preparing yourself for a new career through job training. Take full advantage of all resources available to you-and be sure to consider ILWU as a resource, too. We wish you every success!


INSURANCE

AMERICAN INCOME LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (AIL)

ILWU members who have purchased a life insurance policy through American Income Life Insurance Co. (AIL) may be eligible for a waiver of monthly premiums for three months if they have been laid-off and meet the following conditions:

• If you have been regularly employed within the same industry for 12 consecutive months and are laid-off, you may qualify for lay-off waiver of premium.

• Lay-off Waiver of Premium provides for a waiver of premiums while the insured is on a qualified lay-off and is actively seeking work.

• A qualified lay-off is the termination of employment in an announced reduction of force due to economic reasons affecting at least 10 persons.

• If this application is returned within 60 days after date of lay-off, one month’s premium will be waived for each full month thereafter the insured is unemployed as a result of such lay-off.

• The maximum benefit period is three months.

• The waiver will only apply to policies which were in force 60 days prior to the start date of the lay-off. If the premium is being waived on a policy on which the laid-off employee is the insured, the waiver will also apply to otherwise qualifying policies on which the laid-off employee’s spouse is the insured.

• Send this application to American Income Life Insurance Company. This must be signed by the employer or union officer.

Waivers must be requested within 60 days of lay-off, so call your Business Agent right away for assistance with completing and submitting the waiver form to AIL.

Finances, Housing, Taxes, and Managing Your Money

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