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Chase provides a bit of mortgage relief while servicemembers are deployed

By Kayla O'Brien

RISMEDIA, March 14, 2007-When it comes to meeting the mortgage needs of those in the military, no one can relate better than someone with first-hand experience. That's why Military Mortgage Program Director Kimberly Ryan, who hails from a strong military family, is so proud of the Chase program that since 1993 has aimed to meet the sensitive needs of mobilized National Guard and Reserve servicemembers.

"My husband was the chief of mobilization at the Pentagon, giving me the opportunity to speak with generals and the chief of family readiness (FRG)," says Ryan, whose son is in the Marine Corps. "Instead of guessing about what was needed, we were able to get that information directly from the servicemembers and their families."

According to Ryan, the decrease from civilian to military income is definitely a chief concern. It is the reason that the federal government implemented the Servicemembers Civil Release Act (SCRA) to provide certain protections for deployed servicemembers. For example, by law, interest rates are capped at 6% for the duration of a military obligation. While this provides some relief, it may not be enough. Uncertainties still remain about managing other expenses and maintaining a comfortable standard of living. The Chase Program goes above and beyond the SCRA requirements.

To help ease servicemembers' financial burdens, the Chase Military Mortgage Program offers a $300 closing discount upfront and provides assistance to Guard and Reserve servicemembers from the time of mobilization and for more than a year after demobilization. After demobilization, borrowers have the option to double up on payments, modify the loan to stretch out the payments or refinance the loan at the current market rate.

"If you are used to a family income of $100,000 and your spouse gets called to active duty and you suddenly lose $40,000 of earnings it's very difficult to maintain your lifestyle," says Lorraine Leacock, Chase customer and wife of Brigadier General Edward Leacock, deployed for over a year now.

Leacock met Ryan while describing her Gifts for Heroes charity that she runs for deployed soldiers. "In the course of discussing the charity and why I run it, I got into how unhappy I was about the mortgage company I had used before," says Leacock.

Ryan informed her of what she could expect from Chase's Program in contrast to her former lender. "The Chase Program is far superior in addressing military needs and requirements of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," says Leacock.

As soon as servicemembers receive their mobilization orders lasting 30 days or longer, they then have the choice to defer part or all of their mortgage payments with no late fees or negative credit. To qualify for assistance, the mortgage must be closed under civilian income, servicemembers must notify Chase after receiving their orders and be in good standing on the existing mortgage and up-to-date on their other credit obligations.

With 36 Chase Military Mortgage representatives spread across the country, communication and a dedication to customer service heads Chase's Military Mortgage awareness campaign. Potential applicants are often working and living as civilians in their communities, rather than on army bases, so word-of-mouth has been Chase's greatest marketing venue. The Program provides a toll-free telephone number (866-313-4192) and all calls are returned promptly.

In the future, Chase hopes to provide additional financial services for servicemembers, maintaining the true meaning of a home for those who "leave the warm, cozy place they call home, to go and protect the rest of us," says Ryan.

"It's very scary to know your loved ones are so far from home and in harm's way. The stress relief that comes with this is just huge," says Ryan. "What we're doing at Chase is a great thing and has helped a lot of people in a tough situation." RE

To donate to the Gifts for Heroes program, visit www.giftsforheroes.net.

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