Citi offers help to armed forces members

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(MoneyWatch) CitiMortgage, one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers, is doing more to help current and former armed forces members afford their homes.

Citi's efforts come on the heels of recent announcements by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Senate Banking Committee that focus on protections for members of the military.

The two new programs include the 2012 Citi Military Road to Recovery Tour and the Citi Military Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Transfer Assistance Programs, both designed to help servicemembers navigate the challenges of homeownership.

"Military families face many unique obstacles when it comes to purchasing and maintaining a home," Sanjiv Das, CEO of CitiMortgage, said in a press release.

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One of those challenges is a PCS order, which requires members of the military and their families to relocate -- often to another state -- for a long period of time. That means leaving behind family homes for rentals or military housing, but no relief from mortgage payments.

Approximately 60,000 military homeowners are impacted by PCS orders each year.

Under CitiMortgage's new PCS Transfer Assistance Program, servicemembers who are required to relocate may have their first mortgage payments reduced for six months. Monthly payments on non-escrowed loans will be reduced to $250 per month, while payments on escrowed loans will be reduced to the escrow payment only.

CitiMortgage may offer military homeowners who are moving and no longer want to own their homes a release from their mortgage obligations through a short sale or Deed in Lieu.

Eligible homeowners must verify their PCS orders prior to enrollment, and loans can be current or delinquent. Borrowers do not have to show evidence of financial hardship to be eligible, but FHA, VA, Rural Development and Private Investor loans are not eligible.

Members of the armed forces can find out more about their options at one of Citi's 2012 Military Road to Recovery events. The tour will offer servicemembers who own homes the chance to speak with HUD-approved housing counselors and Citi's mortgage experts. Events are open to all members of the military, including veterans, and participants do not have to be CitiMortgage customers.

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"We provide financial education and counseling to thousands of servicemembers and their families each year," John Pickens, executive director of Veterans Plus, a national Veteran Service Organization, said in a press release. "When Citi asked us to support their outreach efforts to the military community, we were happy to help. Together, we are helping ensure that veterans and servicemembers get all the assistance they need and the financial peace of mind they deserve."

Members of the military can find more information on Citi's transfer assistance programs at CitiSalutes.com. More information on CitiMortgage's Road to Recovery Tour can be found at CitiRoadtoRecovery.com or by calling 1-866-915-9417. Non-Citi customers should call 1-619-283-2200.

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