New Program to Help Military Homeowners, Bank of America Announces

Bank of America announced this morning on “GMA” that it will help members of the military who have trouble meeting their mortgage payments by creating a new program to assist those active duty soldiers.

“What we’re going to do is set up a program of our own that allows us to reduce their principal if they get in trouble, extend their payments, bring their rates down,” Larry DiRita, a spokesman for Bank of America, said.

“Our goal is, look, if you are a military person, you are deployed, you don’t need to be worrying about your house. If you do find yourself in a distressed situation let us know and we will start working with you right away,” he told me.

I received an email last month from Sgt. Keith Oliver – a soldier currently deployed in Iraq. He told me that after Bank of America had reduced his payments for two years the bank suddenly came back and said he owed about $19,000 or else he would face foreclosure.

He kept calling the bank to explain he was deployed but Oliver said he bounced from one department to another until finally he contacted us at “GMA” to ask for help.

When we called Bank of America it quickly realized the error and fixed the situation with Oliver.

“I guess when ABC News called them they said, ‘Okay, well this person is pretty serious,” Oliver told me.

DiRita says the situation is serious and wants to help other soldiers in similar circumstances.

“Our goal is, look, you are overseas defending the homeland we are going to take care of your home,” DiRita said.

“It is very important that people tell us up front ‘I’m in the military, I need some help.’ We’ll put you into this new unit and we’ll go from there,” he told me.

-- George Stephanopoulos

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