FM Commentary

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FM Commentary

Fannie Mae Supports Our Military

Bill ClearyOur nation’s veterans and active duty military have demonstrated courage and dedication in their service to our country. On this Veterans Day, we owe them our deepest thanks. And every day of the year, we owe them our support as they face the challenges that come with military service.

The housing crisis has taken a special toll on service members. A military homeowner facing deployment or permanent change of station can find it difficult to sell a home in a sluggish housing market. A soldier with combat injuries may experience reduced income that makes it difficult to keep up with mortgage payments.

At Fannie Mae, we work every day to resolve these and other housing issues for both veterans and active duty military.

Since 2007, we have provided grants totaling more than $1.2 million to partners that assist service members and veterans. Our grants support housing counseling, financial education, and direct assistance to military families, including those who are facing foreclosure. Our partners include organizations like USA Cares, Habitat for Humanity, and HELP USA. Many of our employees volunteer on behalf of programs in their communities that serve veterans, especially those who experience homelessness.

When service members face financial hardship, housing assistance is available to help, including special programs for borrowers with mortgage loans owned by Fannie Mae. Many military families want to avoid problems with their mortgage, so refinancing is often a solution for them. Service members injured in active duty may be eligible for six months of payment relief with special military forbearance. Eligible service members can receive 12 months of protection from foreclosure following the end of active duty. A recent policy change now permits eligible service members with permanent change of station orders to sell their home through a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage payments.

Fannie Mae describes these and other options on KnowYourOptions.com/Military, a one-stop resource for information about mortgage assistance programs designed for the specific needs of service members and their families. A link on the site lets homeowners find out if Fannie Mae owns their mortgage loan. Another link connects them to a Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Center. Housing advisors at Mortgage Help Centers, which are located in hard-hit cities across the country, provide in-person or telephone assistance with mortgage issues. All Fannie Mae help is free.

Service members can call Fannie Mae’s military support hotline (877-MIL-4566) to discuss mortgage options. Almost 9,000 military personnel have turned to the hotline over the last two years.

Also, our Borrower Outreach Team partners with HOPE NOW to coordinate mortgage assistance events at military installations across the country. Fannie Mae works closely with military housing counselors to ensure that families get information about available programs. We provide those counselors with a military-focused toolkit, job aids, scripts, and links to other Fannie Mae resources. Watch this quick video for highlights from two recent events at Fort Bragg, NC and Fort Lewis, WA. Planning is under way for 12 additional events in 2013.

Last month, we welcomed military housing counselors from throughout the country to our Military Housing Forum 2012, co-hosted with Hope Now. They joined leaders from the Army and Navy, Congress, state and federal government, nonprofits, and mortgage companies to share wisdom and experience as we collectively addressed the needs of military homeowners.

Military life and the sacrifices it demands can be challenging. When it comes to mortgage issues, Fannie Mae stands ready to do our part to help our men and women in uniform.

Bill Cleary
Vice President for Credit Portfolio Strategies

November 9, 2012

The views expressed in these articles reflect the personal views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of any other person, including Fannie Mae or its Conservator. Any figures or estimates included in an article are solely the responsibility of the author.

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