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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senator proposes moratorium on mortgages, car loans

Sen. Keren Riquelme

By The Star Staff

Sen. Keren Riquelme on Monday proposed a 90-day moratorium on mortgage and motor vehicle loan payments for anyone directly affected by Hurricane Fiona.

“The passage of Hurricane Fiona left a lot of damage throughout Puerto Rico. This event, with sustained winds of 80 miles per hour and precipitation that will exceed 30 inches of rain, has marked our lives,” said the at-large New Progressive Party senator, who announced that she will be filing a joint resolution in the upper chamber in the coming days. “Many people have suffered great losses in this onslaught and they need immediate help. That is why we are proposing a moratorium on the payment of mortgage loans and motor vehicles for three months, in order to assist in these moments of crisis.”

Riquelme said the proposed moratorium should cover a period from Sept. 18 to Dec. 31 of this year, and should not carry any cost. According to the proposal, anyone who avails themselves of the moratorium would have to present evidence of direct damage caused by Hurricane Fiona.

She said that under the proposal, collection efforts for loan arrears would be suspended for three months as well.

In addition, people with mortgages whose loans were less than 90 days past due as of Sept. 18 would be provided the flexibility to postpone the next three monthly payments.

When the moratorium ends in January 2023, if the client cannot update their loan, both mortgage and car, they will have the option of establishing a payment plan in accordance with the type of loan and their particular circumstances.

“We are sending a letter to the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico to initiate the corresponding procedures to establish this moratorium as soon as possible, so that our people do not have to have another concern in addition to that of the recovery from this [storm], which caused so much damage,” Riquelme added.

She also urged the Puerto Rico Bankers Association to accept the proposal as soon as possible.

“This is something that was done with the passage of Hurricane Maria in September 2017,” the senator said. “My call to the members of the Bankers Association is to take the step voluntarily and establish these payment agreements with their clients, focused on a moratorium, at no additional cost, for three months.”

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