Consumer Debt – COVID-19 Issues
Last updated September 24, 2020
Below are selected websites from reliable sources, vetted by our Law Librarians. This is not an exhaustive list of information available on this topic, but a starting point to provide you with basic information during this pandemic.
In addition to posing a threat to our physical health, COVID-19 is affecting the financial health of many consumers. Below you’ll find information on FDIC response to COVID-19 for consumers and businesses, credit reporting, updates regarding student loans, and information on protecting your finances.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently published a report titled ‘The Early Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Consumer Credit.” The focus of the report is on consumer credit outcomes as a result of the immediate and dramatic shocks to consumers and household income in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FDIC has updated information for coronavirus (COVID-19) consumers and bankers: https://www.fdic.gov/coronavirus/index.html
The National Consumer Law Center has made the digital version of their popular publication, Guide to Surviving Debt, available for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.nclc.org/for-consumers/guide-to-surviving-debt.html
If your finances have been affected by COVID-19, steps you can take to protect your credit score include continuing to make minimum monthly payments. If that is not possible, contact your creditors about making a payment plan. For more information on COVID-19 and your credit score, click the links below for updates from the three major credit reporting agencies.
Article from National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) on Enforcing the CARES Act Credit Reporting Protections
Additionally, credit reports Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are now free every week: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/credit-reports-are-now-free-every-week
Update:Principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans are automatically suspended through December 31, 2020. Read here for more on if you qualify and what it means for your student loan.
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law, providing, among other things, broad relief for federal student loan borrowers. As outlined in the CARES Act, both the suspension of loan payments and the temporary 0% interest rate on loans owned by ED are scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2020. For more information, review this page on the Federal Student Loan Website:
- Among other things, this Act temporarily suspends payments for federal student loans. A summary and full text of the Act, Senate Bill 3548, is provided here.
- The Federal Trade Commission has published a blog post on the CARES Act and Student Loans: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/coronavirus-and-your-student-loan-debt?utm_source=govdelivery
- Important information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB for student loan co-signers.
Federal Student Loan Providers
Stay up to date with with information on federally held student loans at Federal Student Aid, an official website of the U.S. Government. Below is a list of federal student loan providers.
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
- Granite State (GSMR)
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Servicing
- OSLA Servicing
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the federal agency tasked with enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has prepared a resource guide for protecting your finances during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Major Consumer Protections in Response to COVID-19
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has compiled a list of major consumer protections announced in response to COVID-19 (updated June 17): https://library.nclc.org/major-consumer-protections-announced-response-covid-19
Also from NCLC: Protecting Against Creditors’ Seizure of Stimulus Checks. https://library.nclc.org/protecting-against-creditor-seizure-stimulus-checks
The Federal Trade Commission has information for consumers on coronavirus and mortgages: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/04/coronavirus-and-your-mortgage?utm_source=govdelivery
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has prepared a guide to coronavirus mortgage relief options: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/