The investor was moved to act after seeing a news account about Tim Ward, whose wife, Brandy, was one of 43 people killed in the slide near Oso on March 22, 2014.
JPMorgan Chase told KIRO 7 the donor read about Ward and wanted to help.
Ward told KIRO 7 he’s grateful for that donor, who is a stranger and has remained anonymous. Ward hopes other banks think long and hard about forgiving loans for those who have already suffered so much.
In Darrington, fire chief Dennis Fenstermaker says the donation is welcome news.
“It’s a great gesture on somebody’s part,” said Fenstermaker.
Fenstermaker knows a handful of loans have been forgiven to homeowners in the slide zone. But dozens of other homeowners, he says, are still struggling with loans on homes that no longer exist.
“It’s a devastating thing because, in a lot of the cases, the mortgage that you owe on, you will never be able to live on that property again. So you’re paying a mortgage for something that you really have no value in,” said Fenstermaker.
According to state and federal damage assessments last year, 30 of the 42 homes in the destroyed neighborhood were primary residences. None of those 30 had landslide insurance and almost all belonged to low-income families. The average market value of the destroyed homes was $164,717.