Banks reporting mortgage relief requests, financial assistance

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Banks are offering financial help to those who are dealing with insecurities during this time

(WKBN) – The Payroll Protection Program has been successful for local banks and small businesses.

First Financial has helped 2,300 clients get $425 million and Farmers has helped 700 get over $145 million.

We took a look at the average person and who is still missing their paycheck while waiting for things to reopen.

The consumer drives the economy, but what happens when the economy is put on hold by stay-at-home orders and businesses closing? So far, so good.

“We are not seeing in our client base undue stress at this point in time,” said Gary Small, First Defiance Financial president.

First Defiance Financial is the new name for Home Savings Bank.

It’s helping people who are relying on rents and those payments aren’t coming in. Plus, it has modified about 3% of its residential loans to delay payment for three to six months and tack it onto the end of the mortgage.

“It won’t all come due in six months and that’s the way that’s helpful. Not all forbearance programs work like that, that’s just the way ours works,” Small said.

First Financial has also seen three times the amount of growth in people refinancing their mortgages.

Farmers National Bank has also been concerned about the customer. Its payment relief program has been able to defer $8 million in payments for 168 people.

Some choose to waive interest, some want principal and interest.

It also did nearly $90 million in payment deferrals for 170 business customers in the first quarter.

“We impacted about 400 customers overall in just allowing them to get on their feet and take this next 90 days, take a breath. Let’s come back at it after 90 days,” said Kevin Helmick, Farmers National Bank CEO.

Farmers has also waived CD (certificate of deposit) penalties for anyone who needed cash.

Businesses under 500 employees provide 44% of the payroll in the USA.

As states start to reopen in phases, the local banks are seeing a bounce back, but monitoring conditions to help.

“We want to see the consumer do well and the consumer does well when they’re employed and they have jobs,” Helmick said.

“We think we can see most of the folks through the end of the year quite nicely and on into ’21,” Small said.

The banks hope they’ve provided some leeway and room to help people.

They hope the next steps will be reopening their branches for customers to come in again.

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