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RISMEDIA, May 28, 2009-Union members will now be able to access additional and enhanced benefits through the Union Plus Mortgage Program, from Chase, one of the nation’s leading home lenders, and Union Privilege, the benefits arm of the AFL-CIO.

The Union Plus Mortgage Program is open to union members, their parents and children. After having a Union Plus mortgage for at least one year, mortgage holders are eligible for the following new benefits:

-Hospital Care Grants provide $1,000 to borrowers whose non-reimbursed hospital expenses amount to at least 10% of their household income.
-Disaster Grants of $500 if the borrower is facing financial hardship as a result of a hurricane, flood or wildfire that is designated as a natural disaster by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
-College Savings Grants reward borrowers with a $500 grant when they open a new 529 education savings account or prepaid tuition plan with at least $1,000.

In addition, Union Plus Mortgage holders who have fallen on hard times may still get help to pay their mortgage through:

Mortgage Assistance Loans- An interest-free loan to cover up to six months of mortgage payments if borrowers involuntarily miss work due to unemployment, disability, lockout or a short-term, union-approved strike. Repayment begins four months after the last assistance payment is made. Once a member gets six months of help, they must repay the assistance loan in full before they can reuse the benefit for other unemployment, disability, strike or lockout circumstances. Mortgage Assistance Loans include: One-time Grant- The first $1,000 of the mortgage assistance loan is a one-time grant that does not need to be repaid and Mortgage Assistance Loan Death Benefit- This new benefit forgives a mortgage assistance loan balance upon the death of the borrower or co-borrower.

Mortgage Strike Assistance- If union members are involved in a union-approved strike or locked out for 30 days or more, the program covers their mortgage payment for up to six months. This benefit does not have to be repaid and is a one-time benefit for the life of the union member. Previously, only strikes or lockouts of 90 days or more were eligible for this benefit.

“Chase has been our exclusive mortgage lender since 1996, and we are pleased to offer new and better ways to help union families keep their homes during difficult times,” said Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege. “The Mortgage Assistance Program has provided more than $4.8 million in interest-free loans and grants to union members, helping them keep their home loans current.”

The Union Plus Mortgage Program is available to more than 13 million union members.

“These new benefits make the Union Plus program even more attractive while still allowing borrowers to choose among a range of mortgage types, have their bank fees at closing limited to $100 and know that their mortgage will be serviced by Chase for the life of the loan,” said Sue Barber, who leads new business development for Chase’s Retail Mortgage group.

For more information, visit