The Farm Service Agency is “relaxing” its loan-making process as the nation works to cope with travel and interpersonal restrictions brought about by the coronavirus outbreak. 

Foremost among the actions is an extension in the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications, though FSA has yet to say how long that extension will be.

The agency also said it would prepare documents for direct loans even if it cannot complete lien and record searches because of closed government buildings. “Once those searches are complete, FSA would close the loan,” FSA said.

In addition, FSA said it would close loans “if the required lien position on the primary security is perfected, even for loans that require additional security, and those lien searches, filings and recordings cannot be obtained because of closed government buildings.”

“We recognize that farm loans are critical for annual operating and family living expenses, emergency needs and cash flow through times like this. FSA is working to find and use every option and flexibility to provide producers with credit options and other program benefits,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said.

In the area of servicing direct loans, FSA said it is extending deadlines for producers “to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers.” There’s no word yet on how long the extensions will be.

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“FSA will temporarily suspend loan accelerations, non-judicial foreclosures, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice,” the agency said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will make the determination whether to stop foreclosures and evictions on accounts under its jurisdiction.”

As far as servicing guaranteed loans, FSA said “guarantee lenders can self-certify, providing their borrowers with subsequent-year operating advances on lines of credit and emergency advances on lines of credit.”

FSA also said it will consider guaranteed lender requests for:

  • Temporary payment deferral consideration when borrowers do not have a feasible plan reflecting that family living expenses, operating expenses and debt can be repaid; and
  • Temporary forbearance consideration for borrowers on loan liquidation and foreclosure actions.

FSA reminded producers its service centers are open by appointment only.

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