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For Consumers

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Financial Resources for Pennsylvania Residents Impacted by COVID-19

 

Learn ways to protect yourself financially during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities has developed a list of financial resources for Pennsylvania consumers affected by the coronavirus. We will add to this list as more resources become available.

Important: Recent legislation, HR 748, CARES Act, includes provisions concerning reporting of information to Credit Report Agencies (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union), and non-negative reporting for workout arrangements between borrowers and lenders during the COVID-19 outbreak. This provision only extends to agreements between both parties and does not extend to any non-noticed, missed or delinquent payments.

It is vitally important that you proactively reach out to your lender/creditor to pursue an agreement or accommodation of your financial obligations and keep a record of any written accommodation (i.e. e-mail, letter) received from the lender.

When pursuing an accommodation or alternative payment agreement, be sure to understand the terms and nature of the workout agreement. Forbearance of a debt is not debt forgiveness and you should inquire if interest will accrue.

Last Updated:  June 4, 2020


 

Accessing Your Financial Institution

    • Make use of the many services available 24/7 on your financial institution's website or mobile app including: balance inquiries, transfers, loan payments, mobile check deposits, and transaction inquiries.
    • When possible, use Online or Mobile Banking, Phone Banking, Drive-Thru, or ATMs.
    • Visit your local bank or credit union website to find information related to the COVID-19 outbreak and any changes to hours, member assistance, and current operations.
    • Work directly with your financial institution for any concerns with credit, automatic bill payments, or debt obligations like credit card and mortgage payments.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is reminding Americans that FDIC-insured banks remain the safest place to keep their money. The FDIC is also warning consumers of recent scams where imposters are pretending to be agency representatives to perpetrate fraud

Read more: FDIC: Insured Bank Deposits are Safe; Beware of Potential Scams Using the Agency's Name

Consumers are encouraged to reach out to their financial institution prior to any upcoming payment deadlines to pursue a hardship arrangement. The American Bankers Association (ABA) is maintaining and updating a list of efforts by banks to accommodate persons affected by Covid-19.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) also has a resource guide available for members of credit unions.

Unemployment Help

If you are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation benefits. Learn more about eligibility requirements, latest developments, and how to get started here.

Note: The Department of Labor and Industry has encouraged individuals to make claims electronically through their website.

Trouble Paying Credit Cards

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If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away. Explain your situation and ask about hardship programs that may be available. Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus.

Credit card companies and lenders may be able to offer you a number of options to help you. This could include waiving certain fees like overpayments and late fees, as well as allowing you to delay, adjust, or skip some payments.

Additional Resources:

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Trouble Paying Your Mortgage

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On June 4, 2020, state regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued additional guidance for servicers of mortgages covered under the CARES Act. The guidance explains what servicers may and may not do, including prohibiting the requesting of additional information in order to grant a forbearance.

Additional Resources:
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Trouble Paying Rent

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If you are unable to make your rent payment, contact your landlord immediately and try to work out an agreement.

If you are in need of rental assistance, you can also contact a housing counseling agency toll-free 800.569.4287. They can help point you in the right direction.

Additional Resources:

Trouble Paying Auto/Vehicle Loans

If you are unable to make a loan payment for your automobile, contact your auto loan servicer, where you make scheduled payments, and ask for workout arrangements.

Trouble Paying Student Loans

As part of the White House announcement, your U.S. Department of Education-owned loans now have an interest rate of 0% effective March 13, 2020.

Provisions in the recently enacted CARES Act (HR 748) direct the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to suspend all payments for certain federal student loans through September 30, 2020 without negative credit reporting or accrual of interest. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS.

Borrowers are not required to take any action. Any payments received during this time will be applied to any outstanding interest balance and principal balance of any loans.

Short Term and Emergency Loans

Consider your options before taking out a high-cost, short-term loan. Talk with your creditors to negotiate more time to pay bills or borrow from friends or family, before exploring loans offered by local banks, credit unions or licensed small loan companies that you may be unable to repay.

If you do take out a short-term loan, make sure the lender is licensed with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities and borrow only what you can afford to pay back. Call 1.800.PA.BANKS or 1.800.600.0007.

Paying Utilities
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If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your service provider right away. Many utility service providers offer emergency assistance programs.

Additional Resources:

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille signed an emergency order prohibiting electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utility terminations that are under the PUC's jurisdiction. The moratorium will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6, 2020 related to the coronavirus, is in effect. 

Questions? Contact the PUC: 1.800.692.7380

Insurance Issues

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has resources and information available for consumers who have insurance-related questions. Check the FAQ page for answers to the most common questions related to insurance coverage and COVID-19.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is working to ensure that all questions related to COVID-19 are addressed. You can call 1.877.881.6388 if you cannot find the resources you need on their website.