Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information - Financial Regulation
(This page is updated as new information becomes available. Last update April 2, 2020.)
Government agencies and Maryland businesses – including banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, and other financial service providers – are following state and federal directives to protect the public and prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.
The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation is committed to keeping Marylanders informed about the impact these emergency preventative measures will have on their financial institutions and financial activities.
HELP FOR CONSUMERS
- Student Loan Relief
- Mortgage Relief and Foreclosure Prevention
- Financial Fraud and Scams
- List of Additional Resources
QUICK TIPS FOR CONSUMERS
- Use online account access or mobile apps to conduct your financial transactions to avoid person-to-person contact.
- Regularly check your financial institution’s website for up-to-date information about changes to business hours, branch closures, and other matters pertaining to the coronavirus and COVID-19.
- Contact your financial institution as soon as possible if you anticipate difficulty repaying a loan or other debt obligation. See the FAQs (below), Student Loan Relief, and Mortgage Relief and Foreclosure Prevention for more information
- Beware of COVID-19 related scams! See the FAQs (below), Financial Fraud and Scams , and List of Additional Resources for consumer tips and trustworthy resources.
What should I do if I cannot afford my mortgage, student loans, or other debt obligation?
If you anticipate having trouble making a loan or debt payment because of COVID-19 related circumstances, notify your lender, loan servicing company, or creditor as soon as possible to discuss your options. Early and regular communication could mitigate the impact of any trouble you may be having.
- For businesses such as mortgage companies, student loan servicers, collection agencies, consumer lenders or sales finance companies, see your most recent monthly statement to find the appropriate contact information.
- For bank information, see the Maryland Bankers Association’s coronavirus-related resource page.
- For credit union information, see the MD|DC Credit Union Association’s consumer guide to credit unions.
Additional options are available for student loan borrowers and mortgage borrowers facing default due to COVID-19 circumstances. See the pages on Student Loan Relief and Mortgage Relief and Foreclosure Prevention for more information.
Will I continue to have access to my money? Should I withdraw cash from my account?
We understand that the public may have financial concerns during this time of uncertainty and be tempted to make larger than normal cash withdrawals. Banks and credit unions are open as essential businesses and should be able to accommodate your requests. Be aware that holding large sums of cash increases your risk of loss and theft.
Your money is safe in an insured financial institution. Checking, savings, share, and other deposit accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) up to $250,000 per depositor per account.
How should I be accessing my bank account and conducting financial transactions?
Maryland banks, credit unions, and financial service providers (including mortgage companies, mortgage brokers and consumer lenders, among others) are operating under precautionary measures, with increased focus on mobile, phone, and online services to reduce unnecessary public health risks and ensure employees and customers are safe.
If you do not already have electronic access to your financial account(s), you may wish to set this up as soon as possible through your institution’s website or mobile app. Electronic access allows you to view account transactions and check balances from home using your personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Depending on the type of institution, you may also have the ability to pay bills, transfer funds, and deposit checks remotely.
What should I do if I need to visit my bank, credit union, or financial services provider in-person?
In an effort to minimize risk and continue vital services to their customers, financial institutions and providers are implementing emergency policies and may modify hours or adopt precautionary measures to reduce the amount of face-to-face interactions. Such precautions allow businesses to remain in compliance with local, state and federal directives, including practicing social distancing, while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
If you do need to visit a business in-person, follow these guidelines to keep yourself and others safe:
- Use the ATM or drive-through lanes, if available.
- If you need to meet with an employee to discuss your account, call ahead to schedule an appointment. This may reduce the amount of time needed for your visit.
- Maintain a safe distance from others and do not shake hands.
- Try to refrain from directly touching publicly-used items such as pens, touchscreens, and keypads. Bring your own pen, and consider wearing single-use gloves or using sanitizer wipes for touchscreens or keypads.
- Always wash your hands after visiting any business or public area.
Can I still take out a loan to purchase a home or refinance my mortgage?
Yes, however be prepared for delays in the process. The American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AAMR) has issued this message to mortgage applicants and existing mortgage borrowers:
“If you’ve applied for a mortgage, please be aware that there may be delays in the process. Some lenders may be operating with reduced staff, or may have directed staff to work from home. There may be delays in obtaining appraisals, inspections, or other services essential to processing your loan application. Stay in communication with your lender, but keep in mind that your lender is most likely doing its best to approve your application as quickly as possible. Please be patient. If you are buying a home and are concerned about missing the closing date specified in your contract, let your lender know, and contact your real estate agent as well. Remember that your seller may be just as concerned about selling the home as you are about buying it, and may agree to extend the contract.”
AAMR has the complete message regarding COVID-19 posted on its website.
How do I avoid COVID-19 related fraud and scams?
Fraud and scams come in a variety of forms including: phishing e-mails with malicious links or attachments that trick you into revealing sensitive information; illegal robocalls; illegal debt collection; and solicitations for donations to fake charities.
- Avoid clicking links in unsolicited e-mails and be wary of attachments.
- Do not reveal personal or financial information in an e-mail or over the phone, and do not respond to solicitations for this information.
- Use trusted sources such as legitimate government websites for the most up-to-date fact-based information about COVID-19.
- If a debt collector contacts you, they must tell you the name of the creditor and amount owed.
- Always verify the legitimacy of a charity before making donations
See Financial Fraud and Scams for more tips and resources to protect yourself and your money.
The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation (“Office”) is Maryland's banking and financial services regulatory agency. The financial institutions and businesses supervised by the Office include, but are not limited to:
- state-chartered banks and credit unions;
- mortgage lenders, servicers, brokers and originators;
- consumer lenders, installment lenders, and sales finance companies;
- check cashing and money transmission services;
- collection agencies and credit reporting agencies; and
- debt management and credit services businesses.
The Office is also home to the Student Loan Ombudsman, a dedicated resource for Marylanders experiencing student loan servicing issues. For a complete list of supervised businesses and to learn more about the Office, return to our home page.
If you have an inquiry or complaint about a financial institution or financial services business in the above list, please contact our Consumer Services Unit by e-mail at DLFRComplaints-LABOR@maryland.gov or by phone at 410-230-6077.