HOPE NOW outreach event

Guy and Kristi Hurd talk about the mortgage on an investment property with a representative from Bank of America at the HOPE NOW Alliance outreach program Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at Fort Hood.

FORT HOOD — Military homeowners were given an opportunity to sit down and talk face to face with lenders about their mortgage situation Tuesday at the Fort Hood Community Events Center.

The Washington, D.C.-based HOPE NOW Alliance gathered representatives from several financial institutions under one roof as part of an outreach program aimed at people struggling with their mortgages.

“Housing is going to be a continuing issue,” said Eric Selk, executive director of HOPE NOW. “This gives homeowners a chance to sit face to face with their lender. They can actually get their interest rates reduced on the spot for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act rights.”

Selk has been organizing similar outreach programs for five years and has managed more than 140 outreach events across the country.

Fort Hood is the sixth military base to host an event with HOPE NOW.

Selk said a typical event on a base draws between 50 and 100 homeowners.

Husband and wife Kristi and Guy Hurd came to the event to see if they could lower the interest rate on an investment property they own together.

Kristi Hurd. whose husband, Guy, is an active-duty soldier, said talking face to face with a representative of Bank of America was a lot more productive than talking on the phone with a customer service representative.

“It’s been a lot more helpful then when you call them on the phone,” Hurd said. “It’s a lot easier in person. On the phone it is harder for them to understand the entire military situation. In person, they understand it better.”

Active-duty solider Charles Francisco also took advantage of the event to get a face-to-face meeting with a representative from Bank of America.

“I’m trying to get a better interest rate,” Francisco said. “My wife lost her job two years ago, and it is starting to get to the point where something has to happen. This has helped me tremendously. Where others have failed in the past, the rep I talked to today managed to put some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Richard Kitterman, regional director of the Better Business Bureau in Central Texas, was on hand to offer the BBB’s services to attendees.

He explained the appeal of the event succinctly.

“Who wouldn’t want a lower house payment?” Kitterman asked.

Contact Mason Lerner at mlerner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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