Foreclosure On An Active American Soldier In Afghanistan
We received a call for help from the wife of (we'll call him Jones) Staff Sergeant Jones because a bank gave notice that they were going to foreclose on their home. Staff Sergeant Jones is on his third tour. Two tours in Iraq and now serving in Afghanistan. When they purchased their home they used a commercial ARM because of its lower rate enabling them to purchase a little more home with the thought that they would be able to refinance their home at the end of the term. That's the main reason they did not use a VA loan and the mortgage and REALTOR® representatives advised them that this was a good plan for them.
With their current home upside down the bank advised they need more money so they can refinance their current loan. They have remained current with their old mortgage terms as they are have a direct deposit paid automatically from Staff Sergeant Jones account. This is not acceptable to the bank as the loan is up and a balloon note is due. The bank terms were identified to Mrs. Jones and she has not yet been able to meet them, thus the notice of foreclosure.
Lots can be said about this situation and certainly the banks position and action. However I can see where this could happen fairly easily in a non-judicial state and a bank employee is involved without the skill set to handle a situation such as this. I can also see where there is one instance like this, there are, or probably will be others. First there are laws in place to handle military personnel and their dependants that are in this situation. The quickest way to get them relief is to have them contact the Department of Defense (DOD) Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) ( http://hap.usace.army.mil/ ) where they can provide assistance, and if necessary get the Judge Advocate General (JAG) involved.
We were able to provide some immediate help but the long term solution for the root cause of this action belongs with HAP. We did not have to bring this to the attention of Staff Sergeant Jones. He is a combat soldier and needs to be laser focused on his assignment.
If you run into this situation, do what you can right away with the bank and in parallel contact HAP. Get HAP involved immediately. Our men and women in the armed forces and especially those serving in combat roles do not need this distraction. Their lives are too important.