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Everything You Need (and Want) to Know about Bank of Hawaii’s COVID-19 Financial Assistance Programs

Reading time: 5 Minutes

March 31st, 2020

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect Hawaii, and the world, many in our local community are experiencing financial hardship. As the tourism industry grinds to a halt, many businesses shutter their doors and restaurants shift to delivery and takeout, thousands of workers have either lost their jobs or seen their hours go down dramatically, making it hard to make ends meet.

Bank of Hawaii recognizes the challenge of this unprecedented time, and so we’ve launched two emergency financial assistance programs to offer relief to anyone with a Bank of Hawaii mortgage, loan or home equity line of credit who may be struggling as a result of COVID-19. Here’s how they work:

Forbearance Program:

No payments due for up to 6 months.  Placing a mortgage in forbearance allows borrowers extra time to assess their financial situation and focus on other expenses and their household during this time of uncertainty.

  • Bank of Hawaii can provide a loan forbearance for up to 6 months for residential mortgages, home equity loans and home equity lines.
  • The forbearance amount can include a partial loan payment up to full payment, based on the amount the borrower can afford to pay.
  • At the end of the forbearance term, there are 3 options:
    1. Bring the loan current immediately by paying the full amount of the deferred payments.
    2. Bring the loan current by agreeing to pay the total deferred payments as a lump sum at the maturity of the loan (or earlier sale, transfer or refinance).
    3. Apply for a loan modification, in which the deferred payments are added to the loan balance, the maturity date is extended for up to 40 years and the loan is re-amortized to lower the monthly payment.

Extension Program:

Extending a loan means that we take currently due payments and shift them to the end of the loan term, allowing borrowers flexibility with their expenses during this time of uncertainty.

  • Bank of Hawaii can provide a loan extension for up to 6 months for products including personal loans and auto loans.
  • Principal and interest payments will be deferred for the term of the extension.
  • Regular payments will resume on the first due date following the end of the term of the extension.

Here are few frequently asked questions about these emergency programs. If you’d like to get additional information, call us at one of the following numbers:

For the Forbearance Program in the state of Hawaii: 808-694-7297 or toll free 1-877-926-7297

For the Extension Program in the state of Hawaii: 808-694-1500 or toll free 1-800-888-9275

For the Extension Program in Guam, Saipan and Palau: 671-479-3700. Palau customers may also use: 680-488-6975

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to prove hardship to qualify for these programs?

No. During this challenging time, we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone affected by the COVID-19 situation to get help. Just let us know you need assistance with your Bank of Hawaii loan or line of credit because of the events surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, and we’ll be here for you.

Will asking for financial assistance hurt my credit score?

No. When you receive financial assistance on your Bank of Hawaii loan or line of credit through these programs, we won’t report any negative information to the credit bureaus.

Will asking for financial assistance make it harder to get a mortgage or loan from Bank of Hawaii in the future?

No. We won’t factor any request for assistance into any future evaluations of creditworthiness. 

How long does the forbearance or extension last?

The six months of forbearance or extension starts when your request for assistance is approved. Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to work with you on the timing. For example, if you’d like to make one or two additional payments and then have the forbearance kick in, you may be able to do that. Just let us know your specific situation, and we’ll work with you.

I can’t afford to pay six months of mortgage at once, once the forbearance runs out. What are my options?

If you can’t immediately pay the full deferred amount, you can opt to pay it as a lump sum at the maturity of the loan. Another possibility is to request a loan modification to extend the term of your mortgage. In this case, the deferred payments would be added to your remaining mortgage balance, and that total amount would be re-amortized, spreading out that deferred amount through the remainder of your term.

Do these programs apply automatically to every Bank of Hawaii loan customer? Can I just stop paying my mortgage?

These emergency assistance programs are intended specifically for customers experiencing hardship because of COVID-19. In order to participate, you must make a request, and receive an agreement from Bank of Hawaii that states the new terms on your loan or line of credit. Customers who simply stop making monthly payments without prior communication will be considered delinquent.
Our best advice: Stay in touch with us, and any other creditors you may have. It’s the best way to protect your credit, and your financial health.

How long will these emergency financial assistance programs be available to me?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation, and its economic impact continues to evolve quickly. As such, Bank of Hawaii does not currently have a firm end date for these financial assistance programs. We will continue to monitor the situation and offer assistance as needed.

I don’t currently have a loan with Bank of Hawaii. Could I apply for one now and not have to make any payments for six months?

Our emergency forbearance and extension programs are only available for existing loans and lines of credit. They do not apply to new loans. If you need access to cash at this time, we are offering low-interest emergency personal loans to those impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19. Click here to learn more.

Can I apply to raise the credit limit on my Bankoh Home Equity Line under this program?

The emergency forbearance program is intended to assist with existing debt payments. You’re always able to request an increase in your credit line, but it will generally require you to demonstrate your ability to pay, by providing proof of income.

I’m already late on my payments. Do these financial assistance programs apply to me?

In order to be eligible for emergency forbearance or extension, you must have been less than 30 days delinquent as of March 13, 2020.

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