MADISON, Wis. - Kathy Popp and Raymond Popp turned the corner along County Road B in Richland County just across Bear Creek, and knew that was where their dreams met reality and would stay for a while.
"It was like, 'Oh my God,'" Kathy Popp said. "This is my first home and my last home."
They bought the one-story, 1930s former cheese factory seven years ago this spring with little down and 7 percent interest.
When Nationstar Mortgage, the company that held their $70,000 home loan, offered a refinance to them more than two years ago that could cut their interest rate almost in half, the retired couple -- who live on Social Security -- filled out papers and waited.
"We spent two years trying to get something going, sending papers back and forth," Kathy Popp said. "I kept calling and then, after a while, you just give up, whatever."
Then she saw a woman on News 3 who had a mortgage problem solved by Call For Action. So she called and introduced herself and her problem to Nancy, a Call For Action volunteer.
"I feel like I talked to Kathy once a week for several months," Nancy said. "They were very frustrated and they didn't know what else to do."
But Nancy, a former state investigator, did know what to do. It took a while, but she finally got through to a media representative with the company. What happened next led to the largest amount of money retrieved for consumers by Call For Action over the last year.
"The guy (Nancy) had been talking to called me and he says, 'You know this doesn't need to be anything public. Your local TV station called me. That isn't really necessary, let's see what we can do,'" Popp said. "They gave us the runaround. They didn't give Nancy the runaround."
Shortly thereafter, a notary appeared on their doorstep with refinance documents containing an interest rate of 4.25 percent.
"Our house payment was 600 and some odd dollars," Popp said. "It lowered our interest and house payment down to $445."
Over the course of the 30-year mortgage, Kathy and Raymond will save $55,800 in principal alone. They know their $70,000 home is not a mansion, but said Nancy treated them as if it were.
"I mean, come on, we're talking $70,000," Kathy Popp said. "We're not talking about a $450,000 home. We're little people, but Nancy made us feel like this was a $450,000 home."
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