Wells Fargo waives October mortgage fees for late payers


By Jed Horowitz

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

Wells, the largest home mortgage lender in the UnitedStates, will not assess late fees on borrowers who missed theirpayment deadlines in deference to the 16-day governmentshutdown from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16, a bank spokesman saidThursday.

Wells has not formally announced the waiver.

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

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

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

Some large banks that ran into credit problems during thefinancial crisis consulted with regulators to get permission forthe programs. The Wells spokesman said it was not required to doso.

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

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

Bank of America Corp., which lost $1 billion in itsmortgage business during the third quarter, said Thursday itexpects to cut 3,000 mortgage-related jobs byyearend

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