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Senators Implore Mortgage Industry to Ease Vegas Victims’ Burdens

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This story has been updated to include comments from Fannie Mae and Chase. 

letter from U.S. Sens Dean Heller (R-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) was sent to mortgage industry leaders recently, requesting they assist victims of the deadliest mass shooting on record occurring earlier this month, with financial aid and relief.

Heller cited “funeral costs, medical bills, and emotional trauma” in a recent press release as well as “legal foreclosure proceedings that would lead to a victim or their family’s eviction during their recovery.” The letter was sent to numerous banks and loan servicing companies, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Ocwen Financial Corporation, Citi, and others. Additionally, the letter was sent to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Furthermore, Heller requested that future mortgage and loan payments be tailored to the victims, providing forbearance programs and loan modifications to ensure all families are cared for. “We ask that you streamline documentation requests and paperwork burdens for any impacted borrowers and dedicate additional staff to process any requests from victims and their families” Heller wrote.

Upon request from DS News, Fannie Mae has issued the followed statement to the letter: "Our thoughts are with those affected by this heartbreaking tragedy. Mortgage assistance is available for families in need. We urge homeowners to contact their mortgage servicer, the company where you send your monthly mortgage payments, for information on mortgage assistance options."

Chase also responded to DS News: "Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. We work with our customers whenever they face difficult situations. We ask any customers affected by this tragedy that are in need of help to contact us on the Chase special care line: 1-888-356-0023."

It is not unheard of for government owned companies to provide relief to individuals experiencing inflated costs due to disaster- or tragedy-related events, as seen in events as recent as last month. Ginnie Mae provided expanded loan buyout authority, which included late fee waivers, loan modifications, and foreclosure moratoriums for those affected by Hurricane Irma. GSEs Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae also issued a 90-day moratorium on foreclosure proceedings and eviction activities after the disaster.

About Author: Nicole Casperson

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Nicole Casperson is the Associate Editor of DS News and MReport. She graduated from Texas Tech University where she received her M.A. in Mass Communications and her B.A. in Journalism. Casperson previously worked as a graduate teaching instructor at Texas Tech's College of Media and Communications. Her thesis will be published by the International Communication Association this fall. To contact Casperson, e-mail: nicole.casperson@thefivestar.com.

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