The Financial Journey is a unique series focused on financial education and opportunities. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between Wells Fargo and Word In Black.
Are you having a financial hardship or an unexpected financial setback that has led to difficulty making your mortgage payment? Starting your search for support with your mortgage provider is a great first step. Having a relationship with your provider could help make those difficult financial conversations easier and give you an opportunity to find resources to help you get back on track with your payments.
Rulon Washington supports Wells Fargo Home Lending through its mortgage sustainability work, which helps to ensure customers have resources and support throughout their homeownership journey. Washington has been working with homeowners at Wells Fargo since 2010.
Washington focuses on helping the bank’s mortgage customers understand the lifecycle of homeownership. According to Washington, customers’ excitement for homeownership must include a level of understanding about the process and preparation so they can manage unexpected obstacles that may arise. He further explained that a strong relationship with your mortgage provider can be a helpful asset to support homeowners if they need to navigate obstacles with making payments.
“If you have a loss of income at work or if a family member has an unexpected medical issue, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone,” Washington said. “Call your mortgage servicer. Have that conversation: ‘Hey, my mortgage payment may be late this month. What options do I have?’”
Homeowners should not let fear keep them from asking questions if they are experiencing hardship when it comes to making their mortgage payments. When homeowners don’t ask questions, misconceptions about what’s available and next steps can form, Washington said. Two common misconceptions include the belief that you need to be late with a payment to get help, and if you are one or more months late with your payment, assistance is not available.
Washington advises homeowners to always ask their mortgage provider about payment assistant options and let them help you determine if you quality. For example:
- You may be able to work with your mortgage provider to see if your quality for a repayment plan.
- Forbearance may be an option. A forbearance plan suspends or reduces your regular monthly mortgage payment for a specific time period.
- Mortgage modification could be another option. A loan modification may change certain terms of your loan to help make your payments or terms more manageable.
- There also are government programs that may be able to help. Many mortgage companies, including Wells Fargo, work with state and federal organizations to provide mortgage assistance. These programs can vary by state.
- A HUD-certified counseling agency is another great resource that may be able to help you navigate mortgage payment obstacles.
In the end, homeowners should be proactive about managing their mortgage journey and a relationship with your mortgage provider gives you a resource that will provide information and offer assistance and guidance when you have questions.
“It’s important to communicate with your mortgage provider in an effort to understand what your options may be when you are facing hardships,” Washington said. “These are vital conversations to have to ensure you are moving in the right direction to get the support you need.”
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.