In light of the health and economic crisis that has come with the emergence of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance (SLEHCRA) and allies are calling on local financial institutions to take steps necessary to avoid COVID-related foreclosures and evictions. While actions taken at a federal level will help many impacted borrowers, SLEHCRA member organizations believe that all impacted borrowers should be given aid and understanding in such unprecedented times.
SLEHCRA and our allies call on all banks and lenders to immediately institute the following practices and policies to protect consumers impacted by COVID-19:
- Moratorium on all foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions
- Moratorium on all evictions of properties secured by mortgage loans
- Moratorium on consumer and business credit payments – including mortgages, car, student, and personal loans, and credit cards.
- Maintain lines of credit for businesses.
- Offer payment accommodations for all loans.
- No documentation requirement of hardship related to COVID-19 in order to qualify customers for assistance.
- Suspend credit bureau reporting of unpaid payments.
- Upon consumer request, report credit accounts with a natural disaster reporting code in order to neutralize information that normally would have negative impact.
- No late fees for borrowers impacted by COVID-19.
- Waive ATM, overdraft, late payment, and other fees on all accounts.
Banks and lenders must communicate these policies and practices directly to consumers and to the larger community. We call on financial institutions to inform consumers through as many communication means as possible, including email, phone, and text messages, as well as a public announcement
Federal banking regulators encourage banks to work with customers impacted by COVID-19 to offer loan modifications and not report those as negative activity. See the interagency statement on loan modifications. Additionally, banks can receive CRA credit for working with customers and communities affected by COVID-19, particularly those that are low- and moderate-income. See the joint statement from the OCC, FDIC, and Federal Reserve.
Following the guidance of government agencies like the FHFA and HUD, individual financial institutions and lenders can act now to develop responses that provide options, protect consumers, and keep families in their homes.
These calls to action are supported by the following organizations:
- Annie Rice, 8th Ward Alderwoman
- ArchCity Defenders
- Community Action Agency of St. Louis County (CAASTLC)
- Consumers Council of Missouri
- Dutchtown South Community Corporation
- Empower Missouri
- Forward Through Ferguson
- International Institute Community Development Corporation
- Justine PETERSEN
- Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
- Lisa Clancy, St. Louis County Council Chairwoman
- Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC)
- Moorish Science Temple of America, #5
- NAACP O’Fallon IL
- North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice
- Old North St. Louis Restoration Group
- Ready, Aim, Advocate! Committee
- St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO)
- St. Francis Community Services
- Team TIF
- Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
Additionally, SLEHCRA member organizations are working to spread information about already-announced programs to help impacted homeowners and small businesses. SLEHCRA members are gathering information about how and where emergency loan forbearance and other programs can be accessed. SLEHCRA will continue to update the document as new information is released and additional consumer and small business lending and aid become available. View SLEHCRA’s COVID-19 Resources and Guidance online here.