Disabled military veterans have enough on their plates without worrying about losing their homes, and Citibank (Stock Quote: C) has stepped up to ease the burden. The bank will now offer disabled soldiers reduced mortgage payments for two years, cutting 2.5% off their mortgage payments. It may not be much, but it could prove to be enough to keep some soldiers in their homes.
The deal comes with a unique twist for veterans: They don’t have to be facing foreclosure or even delinquent on their mortgages to get the discount, and they don’t have to pay any fees to clinch the deal. Plus, the discount is also being offered to surviving spouses of veterans who lost their lives during acting service.
“We recognize that wounded or disabled veterans may be having financial difficulties in this challenging economic environment, and they warrant our heightened consideration,” says CitiMortgage chief executive officer Sanjiv Das, in a statement on Citi’s website. “If they do not qualify for other assistance programs that are available, we are offering this program as another potential form of support.”
But there is a caveat. Wounded warriors who want the discount but who have loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Department of Veterans Affairs aren’t eligible for the loan discount.
As with many government initiatives, servicemen and women seeking the discount will need to get some paperwork in order. They’ll need proper discharge documents and a confirmation letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs documenting their disability.
The discount could make a difference to disabled military vets, who are at the top of any list of Americans struggling with financial difficulties.
According to the Summit, N.J.-based Bonds of Courage, a support network for military veterans, more than 200,000 former soldiers are homeless, and scores more are facing eviction due to financial issues.
The Investor Education Foundation of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) also conducted a recent study that found that one-third of U.S. military members are having trouble paying their monthly bills. Another 25% have credit card debt of more than $10,000.
So, any port in a financial storm is welcome – and Citi’s 2.5% mortgage loan discount is being welcomed by veteran’s groups.
“This program is a solid step towards helping our wounded warriors and their families who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “Foreclosure and unemployment have hit military families particularly hard in this economic crisis. IAVA and our 200,000 members nationwide welcome this initiative to support our community.”