Freedom Mortgage crafts team devoted to borrowers affected by shutdown

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Amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, mortgage lenders are gearing up to support struggling homeowners.

With a number of affected borrowers, Freedom Mortgage will provide assistance to homeowners having difficulty making mortgage payments as a result of the government shutdown that kicked off on Dec. 18.

The Mount Laurel, N.J.-based lender assembled a team devoted to evaluating individual borrower situations and offering a number of assistance options. These come in the form of repayment plans, special payment forbearance and temporary partial payments, alongside the suspension of late fees and reporting missed or late payments to the credit bureaus, according to Freedom.

With these efforts, Freedom joins a number of companies treating the shutdown like a natural disaster.

"We're committed to helping all of our customers who may be impacted by the shutdown. If a borrower has stopped receiving a paycheck, we are prepared to do everything we can to help them through this and avoid defaulting on their mortgage," Stanley Middleman, Freedom's founder and CEO, said in a press release.

"Our hope is to bring some relief to our customers and reduce the immediate burden and impact of the government shutdown on their lives," he added.

Those affected by the shutdown include government workers, contractors and vendors.

Though only a partial shutdown, its impact on banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders is pretty sizable. While some negative consequences have been mitigated by the Trump administration, others remain largely unaddressed.

Some measures that have since been resolved after industry protest include the return of workers dealing with essential income verification and tax transcript forms and the Federal Emergency Management Agency resuming sales and renewals. Still, other issues remain for the mortgage industry such as the Federal Housing Administration halting assistance in underwriting loans.

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