In addition to the physical damage that Hurricane Harvey wrought as it tore through southeast Texas and southern Louisiana, people affected by the storm may also suffer long-term financial problems as they get their lives back in order. In response, online lenders Prosper and LendingClub have stepped in to give affected borrowers reprieve.
LendingClub Relief to Borrowers Affected by Hurricane Harvey
LendingClub estimates that 30,000 of its borrowers reside in areas that the hurricane hit. The help them get back on their feet, the lender has implemented the following initiatives:
- Stop collection calls: LendingClub estimates that 2,000 of the affected borrowers are currently delinquent on their loans. Starting August 26, the lender stopped making calls to delinquent borrowers in all of Texas and Louisiana. It will resume calling these borrowers on September 15.
- Skip late fees: LendingClub will not charge late fees to borrowers in the affected areas beginning on August 23 through September 30.
- Append credit bureau reports: The lender will continue to report affected borrowers’ payment history to the credit bureaus, but will add a note to the report stating that the borrower has been hit by a natural disaster. Future creditors can use this information to reconsider any issues that might have occurred during that time.
- Relax eligibility for hardship: LendingClub already offers interest-only payment plans to borrowers who are struggling under financial hardship. In the wake of the storm, the lender has relaxed its eligibility criteria to make it easier for affected borrowers to get approved.
Prosper Relief to Borrowers Affected by Hurricane Harvey
While Prosper hasn’t provided as many details as LendingClub, it’s also offering significant relief to borrowers who might have been impacted by Harvey. The lender has planned the following actions:
- Waive fees: For those who are unable to make regular payments, Prosper will waive late fees and returned payment fees. This includes fees that the lender may have already applied since the storm hit.
- Change payment schedules: Assuming that affected borrowers may need some time to get back to normal, the lender has postponed due dates by one month so that new late fees don’t accrue. Borrowers will still be required to make this month’s payment, just with next month’s payment.
Prosper hasn’t made any specific decisions on how long these programs will remain in place. Rather, it will continue to monitor the situation and extend beyond one month if it feels it’s necessary.
Check to see if your lender is offering relief
If you’ve been affected by Hurricane Harvey, but have a different lender besides LendingClub and Prosper, don’t hesitate to reach out to a customer service representative with your lender to see what your options are. While the lender may not already have detailed programs in place, they might be willing to work with individual borrowers on a case-by-case basis.
In any case, take a few months to review your financial obligations. Even if your lenders don’t offer any post-storm relief, giving them a heads up about what’s going on will help you avoid running into problems when it’s too late.
Ben Luthi is a personal finance writer and a credit cards expert who loves helping consumers and business owners make better financial decisions. His work has been featured in Time, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance, U.S. News & World Report, CNBC, Success Magazine, USA Today, The Huffington Post and many more.