News to stay informed.
NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program
If you are struggling to pay your rent and utilities due to the impact of COVID-19 and are at risk for homelessness or housing instability, you may be eligible for up to 12 months of rental and utility assistance. Beginning March 15th, the five regional Community Action Partnership (CAP) agencies will begin accepting applications for the NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This new federally funded program is administered by New Hampshire Housing in collaboration with the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery.
Community Heroes Initiative
Do you know someone who has worked tirelessly for their community throughout the pandemic? This can be a healthcare worker, daycare and eldercare provider, teacher, first responder or an active military member. New Hampshire Housing wants to give our first responders a $3,000 credit towards closing costs on the purchase of their first home. Check out the Community Heroes Initiative to learn more and to locate a participating lender. Help us spread the word about this incredible opportunity!
Important Announcements from FSB
Governor Sununu authorizes $35 million from CARES Act for Housing Assistance
The Governor recently announced the allocation of $35 million from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund to support families or individuals in need of housing assistance as a result of COVID-19. Of the $35 million allocated, $20 million will be expended, with the remaining $15 million held in reserve, for rent stabilization and housing support.
The Governor’s Office of Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) will provide the funds to the Department of Health and Human Services, which will then make an initial disbursement of funds to five Community Action Program agencies. The Housing Relief Program funds will be disbursed immediately to individuals who are struggling with paying their rent.
NH Housing Relief Program Grants
The NH Housing Relief Program is designed to keep people from losing their housing and to secure or maintain permanent housing. The program consists of two components: one-time assistance grants and a short-term rental assistance program.
One-time assistance grants can be used to assist households with the following:
- Past-due rent from April 2020 until present for households that fell behind on rent due to either increased household expenses, or lost revenue as a result of COVID-19;
- Past-due housing/household-related expenses that may impact an individual’s or family’s ability to remain housed;
- Other housing-related one-time expenses that if not paid will impact the ability to maintain housing.
The grant is not to exceed $2,500 and is conditioned upon COVID-19-related loss of household income or increased household expenses.
NH Housing Relief Program – Short-term Rental Assistance
The NH Housing Relief Program will provide short-term rental assistance to maintain or secure permanent housing. This includes assistance with the following:
- Past-due rent that was not paid due to COVID-19-related inability to pay and ongoing rental assistance on a short-term basis. The rental assistance will decrease over time as households regain stability.
- First month’s rent and ongoing short-term rental assistance to aid with initial costs to facilitate the transition of working households from shelters into permanent housing.
The Housing Relief Program will end on December 30, 2020.
Source: Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief & Recovery
Remaining offices reopen June 15th
We are pleased to share that our Boscawen, Franklin (Upper Central Street), Merrimack and Tilton offices reopened on Monday, June 15th! These locations will fully open for business beginning at 8:00 am for drive-up transactions, while the lobbies will open at 8:30 am. For a list of hours by location, please visit our Locations & ATMs page.
Rest assured we will be following the CDC guidelines (see below) to ensure the safety of our employees, customers and communities. We look forward to seeing our customers!
Our Bristol, Franklin (downtown location), Gilford and Goffstown offices reopened on Monday, June 1st. To ensure the safety of our staff and customers, we will be adhering to the following precautionary measures:
- Complying with CDC guidelines for COVID-19, we are limiting the number of customers in our lobbies at any given time to enable them to follow proper social distancing protocols.
- While waiting to be served, please wait at the designated spots identified on the floor and ground by decals. Assistance will be provided to help direct customer traffic.
- We may ask you to quickly lower your face mask for identification purposes.
- Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the office and at entryways into the building. For your safety, please consider using hand sanitizer when you enter/leave our office.
- Frequently touched surfaces are regularly being disinfected throughout the day.
- Please utilize a face covering while conducting transactions in the office, or consider using the drive-up if you are unable to wear a protective face mask.
Upon entering our offices, you will be greeted by a representative from our retail team who will provide you with assistance.
CFPB Coronavirus Mortgage Relief Options
If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and have concerns about how to continue paying your mortgage or rent, then you are not alone. Federal and state governments along with financial institutions, including Franklin Savings Bank, are working with individuals experiencing challenges with paying their home mortgage. The CFPB and the CSBS recently issued a consumer guide on mortgage relief options for homeowners with federally back loans. Visit this link to download a copy of the guide.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB, has some options available to assist individuals who are struggling to pay their mortgage, rent and utilities. Click to learn more.
As always, Franklin Savings Bank is available to assist our residential mortgage customers with their loan obligation(s). Please contact Annette Slipp, Credit Manager, at 603.934.4445 or via email at Annette.Slipp@fsbnh.bank.
COVID-19 Scam Alert Targeting Older Adults
According to the NH Attorney General’s office, there are reports of scams targeting seniors with an attempt to obtain personal identifying information and assets. Here are a few scams to be aware of.
Social Security Scam
- Scammers claiming to be from the Social Security Administration call a recipient and claim that due to a closing of the SSA offices, the recipients will be interrupted unless he or she provides personal identifying information, such as SS# or bank account number. The SSA will not call a recipient unexpectedly and ask for personal information over the telephone. If you receive this type of call, please report it to the SSA.
- Fraudsters are contacting seniors pretending to be a family member and claiming they are in need of money to treat COVID-19 symptoms. They may ask for seniors to send gift cards or cash for payment. These types of calls are known as “Grandparent scams.” If you receive this type of call, please hang up immediately.
- Scammers are contacting individuals by telephone, email and in-person, offering COVID-19 home test kits, medicines, or vaccinations. Currently, there are no vaccines, pills, medications, or other prescription or over the counter products to treat or cure the coronavirus disease.
Stimulus Payment Scams
- With many aging adults ready to receive their economic stimulus payments from the federal government, scammers are calling, texting, and email seniors claiming to work for federal agencies, such as the IRS, and are in need of the aging adult’s personal identifying information before the disbursement of a stimulus check. The federal agency will not call, text, or email with a request for a SS#, bank account, or other personal identifying information.
Fake Charity Scams
- Fraudsters are contacting seniors claiming to be from a reputable charity or fictitious charitable organization, seeking donations for a variety of causes related to COVID-19. Many of these scammers will request payment in the form of gift cards or electronic currency, such as bitcoin. Be very skeptical if you receive an unexpected call from a charity requesting a donation.
Franklin Savings Bank will be working with the Small Business Administration to implement the $2 trillion relief package known as the CARES Act. Click here for more details about the program and to see if you qualify.
Loan Payment Assistance
While our branches are open to drive-up access only, we want our customers to know that our commercial and residential lending teams are available to assist you. If you are experiencing a financial hardship related to COVID-19 that is affecting your ability to make your loan payments, please contact your loan officer. We are committed to working with you to assist in any way possible. If you are not currently experiencing financial issues, but are concerned things may change for you in the future, please contact us. We want to discuss your options with you in the event your situation should change to provide some peace-of-mind during these unprecedented times.
We want our business customers to know that we are also your resource for accessing several options available through the U.S. Small Business Administration, NH Small Business Development Center and NH Business Finance Authority. Please contact your commercial loan officer directly via their direct line or by email. You may also contact us by calling 1.800.372.4445 or 1.603.934.4445.
Be Wary of Fraud
Now more than ever, be cautious of unsuspecting criminals and fraudsters who engage in deceptive practices during national emergencies in an effort to defraud you of your personal financial information. We are carefully monitoring any potential fraudulent trends and practices through our law enforcement agencies and partners to keep our customers informed. We will communicate any suspicious fraud on our website and on social media through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Individuals and businesses who are affected by the Coronavirus outbreak and require assistance with their deposit accounts and loans are encouraged to contact us at 1.800.372.4445. Franklin Savings Bank is committed to working with our customers during these unprecedented times.
Please check back often for updates on the COVID-19 outbreak. We are in this together and are here to assist you!
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