More than 4 million homeowners skip mortgage payments amid coronavirus crisis

Fewer Americans are calling their mortgage servicers to ask for relief from mortgage payments, but the housing industry isn’t out of the woods yet.

More than 4.1 million homeowners are in forbearance plans now, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

While mortgage servicers are still facing stress because of the record deluge of requests for payment relief, signs suggest that homeowners’ prospects have improved as parts of the country have begun to emerge from coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

Overall, 8.16% of all mortgages were in forbearance as of May 10, meaning borrowers can either skip or make reduced payments, the trade group said. That was up from 7.91% as of May 3, which is the smallest increase since March. Forbearance requests dropped from 0.52% of the total mortgage volume to 0.32%.

“There has been a pronounced flattening in loans put into forbearance — despite April’s uniformly negative economic data, remarkably high unemployment, and it now being past May payment due dates,” Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in the report.

The potential exception to this trend is the segment of the market for loans backed by Ginnie Mae, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Affairs (VA) loans. More than 11% of Ginnie Mae loans are in forbearance because of the coronavirus outbreak. These loans tend to go to borrowers who are first-time homeowners with weaker credit — people who could be more exposed to the economic downturn the pandemic has caused.

While the pace of homeowners requesting forbearance has slowed, the end of the mortgage industry’s troubles isn’t necessarily in sight. A recent report from U.K.-based economic forecasting firm Oxford Economics estimates that 15% of homeowners will fall behind on their monthly mortgage payments.

The outlook for homeowners will likely depend on their ability to bounce back, particularly for those who have lost their jobs. The good news for mortgage lenders is that job losses caused by the coronavirus have largely been concentrated in the service sector, according to a report from First American Financial FAF, +6.59% , a title insurance company. Because these jobs are lower skilled and lower paid, it’s less likely that the newly unemployed already owned homes.

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More than 500,000 hacked Zoom accounts are being sold on Dark Web for pennies – change your password now

USERNAMES and passwords linked to more than 500,000 Zoom accounts are up for sale online.

Credentials for the video-conferencing app are being sold on the dark web and hacker forums for less than a penny each and, in some cases, given away for free.

Experts at US cyber security firm Cyble first spotted hackers distributing Zoom accounts to one another earlier this month.

They told tech site Bleeping Computer that account details were likely gathered through "credential stuffing" attacks.

These attacks involve cyber crooks attempt to log in to accounts on various websites using username and password combinations leaked in other major breaches.

Zoom account credentials are being offered up so hackers can use them for zoom-bombing pranks and malicious activities, Bleeping Computer reports.

Zoom-bombing is the term for when uninvited pranksters "gate-crash" Zoom meetings, often bombarding attendees with disturbing or pornographic imagery.

Many of the compromised Zoom accounts were owned by Cyble clients, meaning the company was able to confirm the legitimacy of a large number of the leaked details.

The National Security Agency (NSA) warned of credential stuffing attacks in 2018.

They suggested that people who use the same usernames and passwords for multiple online accounts (both Facebook and Zoom, for instance) are particularly vulnerable to this type of attack.

"If your username and password is compromised from Company A—who suffered a data breach—and you use that same username and password to login to your social media account, then that account could also be in jeopardy," the NSA's statement read.

The agency urged internet users to immediately change their login details across all online platforms if a breach is detected.

Cyble echoed this sentiment, encouraging Zoom users to change their username and password as soon as possible.

The Sun has reached out to Zoom for comment.

What is Zoom?

Here's what you need to know…

  • Popular chat app Zoom is best-known for offering video calls – including calls with huge numbers of people
  • There's a free tier with unlimited meetings, but these group chats are capped at 40 minutes
  • The most expensive tier gets you meetings with up to 1,000 participants, but there are cheaper options
  • Perhaps the only downside is that Zoom has had privacy issues in the past, which may put some businesses off

How to change your Zoom password

Here are the steps given on Zoom's website:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. Click User Management > Users.
  3. Click the email address of the user who needs their password changed.
  4. Click Edit next to Sign-in Password.
  5. Enter the new password twice.
  6. Click Save Changes.
  7. You will be notified that changing the password will sign you out of all devices. Click OK to confirm.

In other news, a world first drone delivery service recently launched in Ireland.

Google Maps is gathering "mobility reports" showing hotspots where people are going during lockdown.

And, a conspiracy theory claiming 5G has caused the Covid-19 pandemic is doing the rounds on WhatsApp.

Are you using Zoom during a lockdown? Let us know in the comments…

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Pepsi Co. commits more than $45M to coronavirus food, PPE initiatives

How is coronavirus impacting US agriculture?

Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., discusses how he’s encouraging farmers to hire domestic workers by enacting tax deductions in their labor costs.

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With worldwide relief efforts in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Pepsi Co. announced a more than $45 million global initiative to support communities impacted by the outbreak.

The food and beverage giant said Thursday the funding will go toward protective gear for health care workers, testing and screening services and that it will distribute more than 50 million nutritious meals worldwide.

Pepsi Co. commits $45M to coronavirus efforts to distribute meals, PPE.

“This unprecedented crisis requires all hands on deck, and companies have a big role to play in directing critical resources to the most vulnerable,” PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement.

COMPANIES JOIN CORONAVIRUS FIGHT BY HELPING HEALTHCARE WORKERS 

“We believe the best way we can support communities during this difficult time is by leveraging our expertise and capabilities, along with help from our partners, to bring food to our neighbors who need it most. We’re activating our global resources to do this now and provide other essential relief, and we will continue to do so as the world unites to tackle COVID-19," Laguarta said.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO LAUNCHES CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FOOD FUND

Pepsi is the latest company to step up to support health care workers and people in need. Companies across all industries from tech to makeup manufacturers, automakers and distilleries have done their part to pivot manufacturing efforts to produce personal protective equipment for hospitals or allocate funds to firms that can help amid ongoing shortages. Companies such as Apple, Delta Air Lines, Estée Lauder, Gap Inc. and Ford are among the many others who have pledged support.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PEP PEPSICO INC. 120.97 +2.85 +2.41%
AAPL APPLE INC. 237.82 -3.09 -1.28%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 22.98 -0.89 -3.74%
GPS GAP 5.31 -0.58 -9.85%

As part of the $45 million investment, PepsiCo will allocate $15.8 million in North America, the nation with the most confirmed cases of the deadly virus. While many schools across the country are closed due to the outbreak, PepsiCo says it's focused on feeding the 22 million kids who receive low-cost or free meals through the U.S.’s National School Lunch program daily.

The company will allocate $7.7 million in funding to Europe, particularly to impacted countries such as Italy, Spain and France, where it will distribute personal protective equipment; $6.5 million in Latin America to support local food banks; and $7.2 million will go to Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. And $3.3 million will be allocated to Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and China.

PepsiCo said it will expand on the investments in the "coming weeks."

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