President Touts Reno Couple's Refinance

RENO, NV - Valerie Keller had no thought of one day welcoming the president to her home last October as she watched a news report of a speech he gave in Las Vegas.

She did, however, hear something that intrigued her.

"We were just upside down," she says. "We owed more than the house was worth or had been appraised at.

Interest rates had fallen far below those on their loan so refinancing seemed a good idea.

"We were stuck. We went to our bank and they said, ' sorry, we can't help you.'"

But during that speech the president was announcing he was ordering changes that would make it easier for homeowners like Valerie and her husband Paul to refinance their homes.

"What he said was that they were going to have this program for people who were making their payments but were upside down. So, I called my bank."

Her bank said they would be putting the program in place.

The loan went through in January. The Kellers are now paying $240 dollars less each month on their mortgage.

The president is touting those savings as a potential boost to the economy, leaving more money in families' hands, expecting they will spend some of it, but he's also arguing using the savings to build equity in a home will in time strengthen the housing market.

The Kellers are taking the latter option.

"I want to retire," says Keller. "So, this seems like the wise thing to do."

That was the story the president came to their home today to hear first hand at the Kellers home.

The conversation took place around the kitchen table.

"Now my daughter wants my table," she jokes.

Beyond the obvious, what did they talk about?

"He just asked about us, what I did, what my husband did. Just a quiet conversation. It was nice."

The Kellers then stood with the president as he used their story to pitch for Congressional action on a set of three bills that would extend the same opportunity to other families whose homes are worth less than they owe.

This all happened rather quickly. Valerie Keller says they didn't know for sure he was coming until earlier this week. Now that she's hosted the president in her newly refinanced home, you might expect he has her vote, but she's not willing to commit.

"I'm leaning, but undecided," she says. "I'm still watching the economy."


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