USDA implements immediate measures to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rural Development will keep customers, partners and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.
Visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions, and more.
* On April 13, USDA unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMMEDIATE RELIEF
Rural Development Guaranteed Loan Programs
Effective March 31 until Sept. 30, lenders may offer 180-day loan payment deferrals without prior agency approval for Business and Industry Loan Guarantees, Rural Energy for America Program Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, and Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees. For additional information, see page 17721 of the March 31, 2020, Federal Register.
On April 8, USDA expanded upon the deferral flexibilities. Guaranteed lenders may also approve and make covered loans under the provisions of Section 1102 of the CARES Act. Section 1102 pertains to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
The expanded notice provides that guaranteed lenders may also approve and make covered loans under the provisions of Section 1102 of the CARES Act. Section 1102 pertains to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Guaranteed lenders must notify USDA Rural Development in writing of any covered loans made under Section 1102 of the CARES Act. Written notification will meet the standard for concurrence until Sept. 30, 2020. After Sept. 30, lenders must resume obtaining Agency approval in accordance with all applicable program regulations, forms and existing authorities. For additional information, see page 19655 of the April 8, 2020, Federal Register.
Effective immediately upon receiving a request for a forbearance from a borrower who attests to financial hardship directly or indirectly caused by COVID-19, lenders shall provide immediate forbearance of the borrower’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan payment for a period of up to 180 days. In addition, the initial forbearance period may be extended up to an additional 180 days at the borrower’s request.
• Effective period: Lenders may approve the initial 180-day COVID-19 Forbearance no later than October 30, 2020.
• Effective March 19, borrowers with USDA single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are subject to a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction for a period of 60 days. This action applies to the initiation of foreclosures and evictions and to the completion of foreclosures and evictions in process.
Direct Loan Program:
• USDA has waived or relaxed certain parts of the application process for Single-Family Housing Direct Loans, including site assessments, and has extended the time period that certificates of eligibility are valid.
• A Direct Loan borrower who is experiencing a reduction of income by more than 10 percent can request a Payment Assistance package to see if he/she is eligible for payment assistance or for more assistance than currently received.
• Moratorium Assistance is available for Direct Loan borrowers experiencing medical bill expenses (not covered by insurance) or job loss because of COVID-19. Qualifying borrowers can receive a moratorium on house payments for a period of time, repaid at a later date.
• Direct Loan questions should be directed to USDA’s Customer Service Center at 800-414-1226 (7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday) or //www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/loan-servicing. Call volume and wait times are high at this time.
Guaranteed Loan Program:
• Guaranteed Loan borrowers who are in default or facing imminent default due to a documented hardship can have payments reduced or suspended by their lender for a period not to exceed 12 months delinquency. Once the hardship is resolved, the lender can modify the loan to cure the delinquency or make up the missed payments based on the borrower’s individual circumstances.
• USDA is granting lenders temporary exceptions pertaining to appraisals, repair inspections and income verification for the Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective immediately, the following exceptions to Agency guidance found at HB-1-3555 are in effect for a period of 60-days. In accordance to the CARES Act, this guidance remains unchanged and in effect.