New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

TRENTON, NJ—New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Saturday that a group of major banks have joined other financial institutions to provide New Jersey homeowners mortgage forbearance and financial protections for those facing economic hardship as a result COVID-19.

Building on a similar initiative in California, Gov. Murphy secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, in addition to more than 40 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers that are committed to the mortgage forbearance pledge.

State officials add that more financial institutions are expected to sign on in the coming days. The New Jersey Bankers Association, CrossState Credit Union Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey have endorsed the initiative and are encouraging all their members to adopt these policies.

Under Governor Murphy’s proposal, New Jerseyans who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:

Financial institutions will offer, consistent with applicable guidelines, mortgage payment forbearances of up to 90 days to borrowers economically impacted by COVID-19.

In addition, those institutions will:

• Provide borrowers a streamlined process to request a forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;

• Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program;

• Provide borrowers the opportunity to request additional relief, as practicable, upon continued showing of hardship due to COVID-19.

• Financial institutions will not report derogatory tradelines (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19-related relief.

• For at least 60 days, financial institutions will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions, consistent with applicable guidelines.

• For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees; and other fees, including early CD withdrawals (subject to applicable federal regulations).

Last week, Gov. Murphy signed Executive Order No. 106, which imposed a moratorium on removing individuals from their homes pursuant to an eviction or foreclosure proceeding while the order is in effect. Tenants cannot be asked to leave their homes for nonpayment of rent during this time.

Gov. Murphy also announced that the Department of Community Affairs received an additional $13 million in federal funds as part of its annual renewal for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. These funds, based on the increased utilization New Jersey achieved in the program last year, are critical to helping current voucher tenants maintain their housing stability during the coming year.