Millions of Americans have lost their jobs with the onset of the novel coronavirus and with it, the income they need to pay their bills has dried up.

For many Americans, lost income also means not being able to cope with mortgages, car payments, or credit card bills.

The good news, according to Scott Vahue, senior vice president of M&T Bank, is that many Americans currently have options when processing their loans.

Vahue, who oversees M&T Bank’s collection and collection functions for residential and business loans, said the first thing people should do is assess their situation.

A person should consider the job and industry they work in and think about how long their earnings could be cut off, Vahue said. If it’s temporary, the options could be very different than someone who worked at a small business that went bankrupt or a factory that isn’t reopening anytime soon.

“I think people need to think about it a bit, that’s how long I think this disruption to my income is going to last, and then you can kind of structure the solutions from there,” Vahue said.

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If people feel like their income will be cut off for too long or if they need help from their bank or lender, Vahue said it is important that they seek help.

People “just have to put up their hands and say I’m having trouble with COVID,” Vahue said.

By raising their hand, banks or lenders can defer mortgage payments for up to 180 days or credit card payments for up to 90 days, Vahue said. However, every situation is unique, so it’s essential to reach out to learn about the options available.

“I think it’s been very helpful, is that some of the politicians and experts have told people very specifically that if you can afford to make your payments, you should keep making them,” Vahue said. “What a lot of people don’t understand is that when you delay these payments, interest continues to accrue on loans and lines of credit.”

The main entrance and ATM of M&T Bank in Ocean Pines, along Route 589, May 18, 2020.

If a person has a mortgage of $ 1,000 per month and chose not to make those payments for three months, it wouldn’t cost $ 3,000 to make up the loan, Vahue said. In most cases, interest and other charges will add up, which means people will owe more to the bank or lender.

“If you don’t have a job and can’t make your payments and somehow bury your head in the sand, it can be worse for you from a credit score and fee perspective. that could accumulate on loans, ”Vahue said.

Time is also a factor in all of this, Vahue said. Banks and lenders have fewer options to help people the longer people go without paying their mortgage or loan.

People shouldn’t wait until they can no longer afford anything, Vahue said. They should call as soon as a job loss occurs so that banks and lenders have more options for a client.

When a person finds a job, it’s also important to contact the bank or lender to let them know, Vahue said.

If someone starts working again but with less income than they previously had, banks or lenders may have the option of restructuring a loan to reduce the amount owed each month to accommodate the new financial situation. client.

“Achieve. It won’t be a bad experience,” Vahue said. “We don’t want your car. We don’t want your house. We want to find a way to keep you in the things you own and that. is how we are set up.

Advice

  • If you can afford to keep paying off your loan, keep doing it. If you stop making payments, interest and fees can accumulate on the loan and increase the amount you owe, which will dig a deeper hole for you.
  • Raise your hand if you need help. Banks and lenders are ready to work with you if you are currently having difficulty, but they can only do so if you contact them.
  • Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t forget your loans. There are options to help you. If you think your income will be interrupted by COVID-19, it’s best to contact your bank or lender sooner because you’ll have more options than if you wait and start defaulting.

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