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Wells Fargo waives October mortgage fees for late payers

Jed Horowitz
Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 | 3:42 PM ET

NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters)p - If you are late on your mortgage payment to Wells Fargo Corp this month, the bank is giving you a break.

Wells, the largest home mortgage lender in the United States, will not assess late fees on borrowers who missed their payment deadlines in deference to the 16-day government shutdown from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16, a bank spokesman said Thursday.

Wells has not formally announced the waiver.

The spokesman declined to say how much it collects in late charges in an average month.

The San Francisco-based company processes the paperwork on about 12 million loans, and assesses late fees according to the size of the loan and its interest rate. A typical late charge on a $200,000 20-year mortgage with a 3.3 percent interest rate would be about $24, according to one statement reviewed by Reuters.

An array of banks and credit unions had announced when Congress failed to agree on funding the government at the end of September that they would offer low- or no-rate temporary loans to government workers affected by the shutdown. They also said they would consider "forbearance" on credit card loans and other payments, but the issue faded in importance when Congress decided after two weeks to approve temporary funding.

Some large banks that ran into credit problems during the financial crisis consulted with regulators to get permission for the programs. The Wells spokesman said it was not required to do so.

Wells dominates the U.S. mortgage landscape, although its lending and servicing portfolios are getting smaller. The bank made $80 billion in home loans last quarter, down from $139 billion a year earlier as mortgage refinancings fell because of rising long-term interest rates.

The bank said on Oct. 17 that it is cutting 925 mortgage jobs as a result of slower activity.

Bank of America Corp., which lost $1 billion in its mortgage business during the third quarter, said Thursday it expects to cut 3,000 mortgage-related jobs by yearend