Fort McCoy workshop presents
|Personnel in the Fort McCoy community who are thinking
of buying a house, having trouble paying their mortgages, or who need
any other type of service to plan a successful financial future can use
the services in the Army Community Service (ACS) Financial Readiness
Bryan Clarkin, Fort McCoy ACS Financial Readiness program manager, said
an April 20 mortgage workshop brought several experts to the
installation to talk about various mortgage options.
A Homeowners’ Assistance Program representative from the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers talked about options for Soldiers and civilians who qualify
for assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Eligible personnel include those who were wounded, injured or became ill
when deployed, surviving spouses of those killed while deployed on or
after Sept. 11, 2001, military and civilian personnel assigned to
organizations affected by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure and
servicemembers required to permanently relocate during the home mortgage
crisis through Sept. 30, 2010.
A senior loan specialist from the regional U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) in St. Paul, Minn., presented information about federal VA
mortgage products and services available to veterans, and a
representative from RIA Federal Credit Union also talked about products
and services available to RIA members.
“They brought a lot of valuable information to Fort McCoy,” Clarkin
“I can use the information they presented to help refer eligible people
to the right agency, Web site, or give them a telephone number of
someone to contact for more assistance.”
Clarkin also has a number of resources available at ACS to help
personnel successfully navigate financial obstacles. As a government
employee, he has no biases or conflicts of interest in identifying
solutions as might a financial representatives from a commercial
financial company or agency.
For example, he can help provide basic information about home mortgages.
Clarkin said VA loans have more rigorous conditions than regular
commercial loans so they are harder to foreclose if a veteran is behind
on his mortgage payments. VA loans also can offer reduced or no down
payments to qualified personnel in exchange for slightly higher fees,
which can make them a good bargain.
At the same time, people need to ensure they are getting mortgages they
can afford at the best terms possible. Clarkin said this includes
determining the right length of a mortgage.
Mortgage length is important
because even though payments may be more expensive for a shorter- versus
longer-duration mortgage, the interest rate usually is lower for the
shorter term. That results in a substantial savings in mortgage interest
payments over time.
“I have the resources to help guide people in finding reasonable
solutions on mortgages that can include anything from loan modification
to debt settlement to the reorganization of finances,” he said. “And, if
there are no other feasible choices, in addition to other financial
products. I can review the options available in bankruptcy.”
Clarkin noted his consultations are free and, when necessary, he can
help personnel find appropriate commercial services to assist with
almost any issue they may face and, hopefully, help them avoid costly
services and fees associated with some providers.
“I can help educate people about the options and resources available to
them,” Clarkin said, “but I can’t make decisions for them.”
For more information about the Financial Readiness Program, including
budgeting, repaying debt, etc., at Fort McCoy, call Clarkin at