NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) wants banks to offer a list of breaks for insured borrowers in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Sandy.
New "guidance" issued by Uncle Sam requires banks to offer a 90-day foreclosure moratorium on properties located in Presidentially-declared disaster zones. It also asks banks to consider a full range of benefits to delinquent borrowers, including mortgage modifications, partial claims, refinance options and waiver of late charges.
It also directs banks to release homeowners' insurance proceeds to borrowers rather than apply them to bring delinquent mortgages current.
The agency has published guidelines to lenders to help FHA-insured borrowers in disaster areas."These guidelines provide clarity to the lending community and ultimately help families with FHA-insured mortgages to recover from major disasters," said Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante. "Whether it's giving delinquent borrowers more time to get back on their feet or making sure lenders don't misuse insurance payouts, our goal is to make sure we put these families on the path to recovery as quickly as possible." Banks including Bank of America (BAC - Get Report), JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report), Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) and Citigroup (C - Get Report) recently suspended foreclosure actions and waived late fees for victims of Hurricane Sandy, among other relief options. -- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.