VA Home Seeks to Prevent Mortgage Professionals from Taking Advantage of Our Veterans

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Veterans Association for Homeownership (“VA Home”) announces its plan to help United States Military Service Members and Veterans from being denied the home ownership benefits that they’ve earned through their service to our country, beginning with the launch of its website, http://www.vahome.org.

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According to the VA’s 2010 Survey of Veterans, 64.6% of the almost 22 million respondents said they have little or no understanding of their VA Home Loan Guarantee benefit, including 31.8% of which who said they weren’t even aware the benefit existed.

VA Home is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose primary focus is the VA Home Loan Guarantee program. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs' 2010 Survey of Veterans, 64.6% of the almost 22 million respondents said they have little or no understanding of their VA Home Loan Guarantee benefit, including 31.8% of which who said they weren’t even aware the benefit existed. Further, only 36.1% of the respondents said their mortgage lender even discussed the VA Home Loan Guarantee Benefit with them.

“We at VA Home are very concerned that so many of our eligible Service Men and Women and Veterans are financing their homes with loans that are more expensive to them than the VA Home Loan to which they are entitled. The result is they’re being required to make down payments that they shouldn’t have to make and are being required to purchase Mortgage Insurance and pay a higher interest rate, which greatly increases their monthly payments as well”, says Tony Nigro, VA Home’s Director of Operations. “Once we learned the scope of the problem we set out to determine the causes. What we found is that in some cases it’s the mortgage brokers and other involved parties working in their own best interest, not in the best interest of their clients.

“However, we believe that by far the biggest factor is a general lack of understanding of how the VA Home Loan Guarantee program actually works, not only on the part of the beneficiary, but more importantly on the part of lenders and realtors, even self-appointed “experts”. That 2010 VA Survey showed us that nearly 97% of the Veterans who chose a FHA or other non-VA financing gave reasons that are factually inaccurate. While the Service Members and Veterans should be more educated about their rights, we find it inexcusable that the professionals they trust are giving them such false information.”

VA Home intends to attack this problem in two ways. It will submit and support pieces of legislation designed to protect Service Members and Veterans from predatory lending practices. Its primary focus will be on educating the lenders and realtors, as well as the Service Members and Veterans themselves, a process which has already begun. Lenders and realtors can receive training from VA Home and will be required to pass a proficiency exam in order to be “VA Home Approved”. The intended result is that these professionals will have the knowledge necessary to get their clients the best loan available.

Active duty and Veterans’ education is available by contacting a VA Home Advocate. They will also be able to find VA Home Approved realtors and lenders in their area through their Advocate.

VA Home will also conduct free VA Loan Educational Series Workshops throughout the country, where Service Members and Veterans can meet advocates in person and sit in on educational seminars. The first workshop will be in the greater Chicago area (VFW Post 3579 in Park Ridge, Illinois) on March 12, 2015. Service Members and Veterans can get more information and register for this and future workshops at http://www.vahome.org.

For more information contact Tony Nigro at tony(at)vahome(dot)org.

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