Gavin Newsom signs executive order
Gov. Gavin Newsom signs an executive order. Photo courtesy of the governor’s office

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that four of the nation’s five largest banks have agreed to a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments by Californians who are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom said Chase Bank, Citibank, US Bank and Wells Fargo have agreed to the grace period, while Bank of America has committed to 30 days.

He said the state had also reached agreement with over 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions to provide similar grace periods.

“Families should not lose their homes because of COVID-19,” he said, calling the action “a big sigh of relief for millions” of California families.

After Newsom’s announcement, a Bank of America spokesman clarified the company is deferring mortgage payments on a monthly basis until the crisis is over, which could be as long as 90 days or more.

In other developments across the state, the Governor said:

  • California has administered 66,800 coronavirus tests through Tuesday–up 39,200 in a day thanks to new testing facilities ramping up across the state . Kaiser Permanente alone is now performing 12,000 tests a day. But there are still delays in getting the results back.
  • Bloom Energy is refurbishing 30 ventilators a day for use in California’s hospitals, and new equipment is coming in from other sources.
  • The state has distributed 24.2 million N95 masks to local hospitals and has secured 100 million more, along with other protective supplies.

“This Herculean effort is underway and it is taking real shape,” Newsom said.

He also applauded the national stimulus bill making its way through Congress, saying California would get over $10 billion in assistance. “This bill will be very helpful and is very timely,” he said.

Updated at 4:55 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.