There's help out there if you have bills due the first of the month amid COVID-19 crisis

Help is out there for people facing 1st of the month bills
Posted at 6:38 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 18:31:05-04

CLEVELAND — It’s the first of the month and many people are facing rent that is due and/or car payments may be calling. There is consumer help out there from companies at a time when people are anxious about the bills coming in.

“It’s indescribable…Your heart just breaks out of your chest, okay?” said Chris Haynes, 62, from Millersburg, who's a worried mom.

“You’re talking at the very least six weeks with no income,” said Haynes.

Her daughter Angela Hayes, 39, also from Millersburg is a single mother of two girls. Angela just lost her job, had all kinds of problems signing up for unemployment, and is scared.

“I got my daughter sitting here crying and how many other parents out there crying they’re not going to have any money coming in and they can’t take care of their kids,” said Chris.

People just like Angela are facing rent or mortgages this first week of April.

“I think there’s a lot of difficulty out there for consumers,” said Joe DiRocco.

He’s a Regional President at Fifth Third Bank. It’s a bank that’s offering up to 180-days forbearance (deferred) payments for those with mortgages and home equity lines of credit.

“These are people that might have some financial stress in the life,” said DiRocco. “They might have trouble or might even be anticipating having trouble to make payments.”

Other banks like Huntington are offering up to 90 days of payment deferral on all consumer loans for people affected by coronavirus. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac homes could give you up to 12-months of deferrals if you’re eligible. Late fees will be waived by these programs, too.

News 5 contacted the Ford Motor Company and asked about car payments through its financial sector. It said its customers can call and possibly change a due date. Other companies are doing their part, too.

Honda announced that its customers can get payment extensions and deferrals for up to 60 days. Hyundai Motor Finance said customers can defer payments up to three months if they lose their job or face a medically-related hardship before April 30.

All of these companies are offering late-fee waivers. Fifth Third, too, on its car loans and more.

“There’s no penalties for that and, by the way, there’s no penalties for mortgage or home equity line either,” DiRocco told us.

Meanwhile, for those who are renting, there is a hold on evictions through the federal HUD program and locally through the City of Cleveland. However, some renters could face losing their homes depending on how the courts are being managed in their municipalities.

Losing a home is something banks are trying to avoid.

“We’re really looking to do everything to try and help our customers…help them get through this difficult time,” said DiRocco.

Difficult for people like Chris’ daughter and so many others facing uncertainty at this time.

“Sometimes… it overwhelms me to think about these people out here,” said Haynes.

Fifth Third Bank told us if you are calling it together some information and help, please be patient. There’s a lot of demand for assistance right now.