You Ask. Bev Answers: How Can I Stay in Good Standing with Lenders and Creditors?
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In a time of great uncertainty, a voice of knowledge and reassurance can make all the difference. Beverly Anderson, President of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax, answers your questions based on her years of experience in the consumer finance industry. You can post a question for Bev on Equifax’s Facebook page. Bev regrets that she cannot answer every question individually.
Question: How can I stay in good standing with lenders and creditors?
The best way to stay in good standing with your lenders and creditors is to continue to pay your bills on time and in full.
If that isn’t possible— for example, if you’ve recently been laid off, furloughed or had your income reduced — your next best step is to reach out to your lender or creditor to explain your situation. Many lenders are offering repayment options to help borrowers weather the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, such as payment holidays and delayed principal payments.
While your specific options will vary depending on your account type and payment history, many lenders are willing to work out a repayment plan until you can get back on your feet. If you’ve been a responsible borrower with a long history of on-time payments, you may have an even better chance at negotiating an accommodation.
While working out a payment plan or deferred payment schedule with your lender should help today’s cash crunch, here are a few other steps you can take to help ease the pain you may be feeling in your wallet:
- Adjust your budget. If you’re finding it hard to make ends meet, take a deep dive into what you’re spending. Make a list of the bills you need to pay every month and then add up the rest. Prioritize the bills that are essential to your day-to-day living.
- Negotiate with your service providers. One way to cut costs is to pay less for the utilities and other services you already use. To start this process, reach out to your providers for internet and cell phone service and ask for a lower monthly rate or a reduced package. They are motivated to keep you as a customer and may offer non-advertised deals to convince you to stay. You may also be able to get a discount on insurance coverage by combining policies under a single carrier.
- Have a mortgage? Ask for forbearance. If you’re struggling and need financial help, reach out to your mortgage lender to work out an accommodation that best suits your needs. A six-month forbearance period should generally be available if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or if your loan is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Veterans Administration (VA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
If you don’t know how to reach your lender or creditor, check out our Knowledge Center, which includes links to 100 different lenders and creditors.
Beverly Anderson is the President of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax. She is responsible for the strategy, development, growth and profitability of direct and indirect businesses serving consumers with credit, identity and financial education products and services.
For more than three decades, Beverly has built businesses and delivered significant results in the Financial Services and Payments industries. She drove consumer and small business strategies, product strategies, and enterprise growth and profitability strategies for First USA (now JPMorgan Chase), Fleet (now Bank of America) and American Express. Before joining Equifax, she was the Executive Vice President of Cards and Retail Services at Wells Fargo where she led consumer credit cards, co-branded cards, loyalty solutions, retail finance, digital payments and enablement capabilities. She has also held leadership roles managing auto loans, personal lines and loans, servicing, loan operations, collections and fraud operations.