TAMPA (3/10/08)--More and more members are facing financial difficulty, and Suncoast Schools FCU, based in Tampa, advised them to keep in contact with their lender because early intervention is the key. The advice appeared in Naples News March 6. Don Charron, senior vice president of the $5.921 billion asset credit union, emphasized "how important it is to stay in touch with your lender," in the article. "The earlier you contact us, the better the outcome. Once a mortgage becomes three payments delinquent, we often can't do anything to help," he noted. He encouraged people to meet with a mortgage loan officer face-to-face, noting it may take a simple loan modification from one loan type to another, or combining a first and second mortgage to get payment relief. "Lots of folks in not-so-friendly adjustable-rate mortgages from other institutions are coming to us to refinance," he told the newspaper. Suncoast's new payment forbearance program allows members in temporary financial crisis to move a few payments to the end of their contract. Suncoast also has its asset-pledge program allows an individual to sponsor a member by putting up collateral, such as a certificate of deposit, for a loan. The certificate remains intact while the member uses the loan to pay off other debts. He noted no one likes to deal with foreclosures so the credit union tries to be creative with solutions. "It's not one-size-fits-all, though. We don't claim to be able to help every single member every time, but we have a very high success rate. Early intervention is key."