Gov. Gavin Newsom: 5 big banks suspend mortgage payments

Five of the nation’s largest banks agreed to temporarily suspend residential mortgage payments for people affected by the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 2:45 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 4:58 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Five of the nation’s largest banks agreed to temporarily suspend residential mortgage payments for people affected by the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The announcement came as Newsom provided yet another grim statistic about the economic devastation from the virus: 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits since March 13 as businesses shut down or dramatically scaled back because of a statewide “stay-at-home” order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Meantime, Newsom said California is rapidly expanding its supply of equipment for health care workers and hospital beds in anticipation of the expected surge in patients that will come as more people are infected. Testing for the virus is accelerating quickly as the state adds locations for the public to get checked.

“We are leaning in to meet this moment,” Newsom said.

Wells Fargo, US Bank, Citi and JP Morgan Chase will defer mortgage payments for three months. State-chartered banks and credit unions will offer similar deferrals. Newsom said everyone is eligible, regardless of how much money they make. He said homeowners must submit “some form of documentation,” but did not give details.

“I thought the Great Recession was overwhelming, and we really had to react. This one is much bigger,” said Diana Dykstra, CEO of the California-Nevada Credit Union League. “People’s health is on the line, it’s deeper and broader than that crisis was. It was a housing crisis. This is a crisis for everyone.”

Newsom criticized Bank of America for only agreeing to waive mortgage payments for one month. But Bank of American spokesman Bill Halldin said the company isn’t capping its offer at 30 days. It will consider delaying payments on a monthly basis that could extend beyond 90 days depending on the length of the crisis.

The news comes after Congress reached an agreement with the Trump administration on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package to keep the economy afloat during the crisis. The plan would increase weekly unemployment benefits by $600 more than what states are already providing.

For California, that means the unemployed would be eligible for up to $1,000 per week. That’s on top of the $1,200 many adults will get as a one-time payment under the stimulus package.

More help could be on the way for Californians. Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, said Tuesday state lawmakers could consider a state stimulus package to supplement whatever Congress approves.

Coronavirus cases in California are increasing as more testing is done. A tally by Johns Hopkins University counted nearly 3,000 infections and at least 65 deaths. Confirmed cases in the state are doubling every three to four days, according to California Health and Human Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

California hospitals are preparing for a surge of patients, with state officials projecting the state will need an additional 50,000 hospital beds. Last week, Newsom announced the state had leased Seton Medical Center in Daly City, a hospital that was slated to close after its parent company filed for bankruptcy. On Wednesday, Newsom said the 357-bed facility is operational.

“A significant milestone,” he said.

The governor’s office also announced it is emptying the state’s special fund for “economic uncertainties” and using the $1.3 billion to buy protective equipment for health care workers and medical supplies and to help hospitals increase their capacity.

When the crisis began, California had a stockpile of 21 million masks for health care workers but was down to 2.5 million on Monday. The state has now acquired 100 million masks and is looking for more, Newsom said. The state also has authorized the procurement of 1 billion gloves.

The state has conducted 66,800 virus tests so far, Newsom said. That’s nearly 40,000 more tests than he had previously been announced. The quick increase comes because more labs are now reporting their testing numbers, he said.

Tens of thousands of people tested are still awaiting results, Newsom said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3563578

Reported Deaths: 51953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119089421328
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2862912816
Orange2610223904
San Diego2596413271
Santa Clara1104221777
Kern102627826
Fresno952021443
Sacramento931801472
Alameda804961241
Ventura77534844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus56024946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38922515
San Francisco34213410
Santa Barbara31763409
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28063298
Imperial26888591
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15436209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12816185
Shasta10972174
Butte10941160
El Dorado9095100
Napa901469
Sutter884597
San Benito575959
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada395274
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador345741
Humboldt318033
Lake315341
Glenn222023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Chico
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Hi: 70° Lo: 36°
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Oroville
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Hi: 65° Lo: 48°
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Chico
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52° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 52°
Red Bluff
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Hi: 46° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 53°
Red Bluff
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 53°
Chico
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 52°
After a windy Saturday and fairly breezy Sunday, the wind we've had is weakening as the month of February comes to a close. We can expect a mostly clear first morning of March, followed by more clouds and mild air by the afternoon.
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