How to Request a Lender Hardship Program

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Struggling with your mortgage payments and worried about a potential foreclosure? Your first step should always be to work directly with your lender to see if they can help you get back on track.

What is a lender hardship program?

Hardship programs are one way you can work with your lender to get yourself back on your feet. Lender hardship programs are for consumers who are faced with a difficult life event and can no longer make regular payments on their accounts.

Hardship solutions can come in a variety of forms. Here some of the most common:

Loan modification

This involves modifying the terms of the mortgage, such as reducing the interest rate, extending the loan term, or even forgiving a portion of the principal balance, to make the monthly payments more affordable for the borrower.


This allows borrowers to temporarily pause or reduce their mortgage payments for a specified period of time due to financial hardship. However, the missed payments are typically added to the end of the loan term or are repaid through a repayment plan once the forbearance period ends.

Repayment plans

Lenders may offer repayment plans to borrowers who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. These plans allow borrowers to catch up on missed payments over time by adding a portion of the overdue amount to each monthly payment until the overdue amount is fully repaid.

Principal reduction

Some lenders may offer to reduce the principal balance of the mortgage in cases of extreme financial hardship, although this is less common and typically reserved for very specific circumstances.

Step-by-step guide to requesting a lender hardship program

1. Gather your information

The first step is to gather all relevant financial information, including loan documents, recent pay stubs, bank statements, and any documentation that outlines your current financial situation.

2. Contact your lender

Reach out to your lender's customer service department and let them know about your situation and your interest in their hardship program. Make sure to note down the representative's name, the date of contact, and any reference number provided.

3. Provide detailed explanation

Clearly and concisely explain the circumstances that have led to your financial hardship. Whether it's a sudden medical expense, a job loss, or any other issue, your lender needs to understand the root cause of your situation.

4. Discuss available options

During your conversation with the lender, inquire about the specific options available under their hardship program. These could include temporary interest rate reductions, extended loan terms, or even deferred payments.

5. Submit your request 

Based on the options discussed, prepare and submit the necessary documentation. This may involve completing application forms, writing a hardship letter, and providing evidence of your financial situation. Keep copies of everything for your records.

6. Follow up

After submitting your request, follow up with your lender to confirm the receipt of your documents. This is also a good time to ask about the expected timeline for a decision.

7. Review the offer

Once your lender reviews your application, they will present you with an offer. Carefully review the terms and conditions, ensuring you understand the changes to your loan structure. If you're satisfied with the terms of the offer, notify your lender of your acceptance. This often involves signing an agreement outlining the new terms.

8. Follow the new terms

Once your request is approved and the new terms are in effect, make sure to adhere to them diligently. Timely payments and compliance are crucial to maintaining the benefits of the hardship program.

What if I don't qualify for a hardship program?

If you don't qualify for a hardship solution, you may need to getting out of the unaffordable mortgage, either by selling the home, using a short sale, or completing a deed in lieu of foreclosure to transfer the property to the lender.

Fortunately, you're not alone in any of this. MMI offers free foreclosure counseling to help you understand your options and pick the path that best suits your goals. We can even help you start the conversation with your lender. If you're worried at all about your ability to maintain your mortgage, get started online or over the phone today.

Tagged in Mortgages and foreclosure, Helpful resources

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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