Customers can call in or apply online to have their payments postponed by up to three months, depending on the loan type, based on a review of several banks’ services.
The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also called the novel coronavirus, broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan around November 2019, before spreading across the world.
By April 27, there were nearly a million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 56,000 attributed deaths in the United States.
The pandemic prompted state governments to impose stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns that forced more than 20 million into unemployment.
Citi’s customers can apply online to have their credit card minimum payments postponed for two statement cycles. For other kinds of loans, customers need to call in, Citi’s website indicates.
“We were the first financial institution to announce in early March that assistance measures will be available for U.S. customers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19, and we have since expanded support,” said Citi spokeswoman Jennifer Bombardier via email.
Bank of America allows customers to request deferments on credit cards, personal and small-business loans, car loans, and mortgages online.
“We’ve assisted approximately 1.3 million clients through these relief efforts over the last few weeks,” said Matt Card, the bank’s media relations executive.
Some 80 percent of deferral requests have been related to credit card payments, he said.
Both banks are also forgiving some fees.
“We have also paused foreclosure sales, evictions, and repossessions,” Card said.
Similar measures were adopted by Wells Fargo.
“From March 9 through April 10, we helped more than 1.3 million consumer and small business customers by deferring payments and waiving fees,” said Wells Fargo spokeswoman Veronica Clemons via email. “In that time period, we deferred over 1 million payments representing $2.8 billion of principal and interest payments and provided over 900,000 fee waivers exceeding $30 million.”
The bank is encouraging customers to still make their payments, but those who can’t can go to its website for contact information.
“For customers who are impacted and unable to make their payment due to COVID-19 hardship, Wells Fargo is providing an initial three-month payment suspension, which may be extended depending on your loan type,” the website says on its home lending page. “We are not requiring documentation of your hardship at this time.”
It’s not clear how long the deferral is for other types of loans.
Chase didn’t respond to a request for comment. It issued a statement on March 25 saying its “Home Lending customers who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 are able to request a 90-day payment forbearance, with no related late fees and no negative impact on their credit reports as a result of deferring payment.”
The bank has also paused new foreclosures for 60 days “in accordance with applicable guidelines,” the release stated.