By JIM VINES
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced it has guaranteed 20 million home loans since its home loan program was established in 1944 as part of the original GI Bill of Rights for returning World War ll veterans.
The 20 millionth loan was guaranteed for a home in Woodbridge, Va., purchased by the surviving spouse of an Iraq War veteran who passed in 2010.
Given the current low interest rates, the program has grown significantly in the past five years, with 71 percent more purchases and 20 times as many refinances processed in fiscal year 2012 than in FY 2007. Currently, there are 1.7 million VA guaranteed home loans in existence with a total value of $284 billion. The VA has guaranteed 540,000 mortgages in 2012.
The 20 millionth VA home loan is a major milestone and is a testament to the VA’s commitment to support and enhance the lives of veterans, service members, their families and survivors. As a result of their military service and sacrifice, as a group, military personnel prove to be disciplined, reliable and honorable, the traits that are ideal for this kind of national investment.
The program makes home ownership more affordable for eligible veterans, service members and surviving spouses by providing access to lower cost financing. The VA loans are also attractive within the mortgage industry because they protect lenders from loss if the borrower fails to repay the loan.
Mortgages guaranteed by the VA had the lowest foreclosure rate for the last 17 quarters and the lowest delinquency rate for the last 14 quarters compared to all other types of home loans in the nation, including prime loans, according to a report by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Much of the strength of the VA’s home loan program stems from the efforts of the VA employees and its industry partners nationwide, to ensure veterans receive every possible opportunity to remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure. Since 2009, the VA’s efforts have resulted in over $8 billion in savings to taxpayers in foreclosure avoidance.
Veterans may obtain a certificate of eligibility for a VA guaranteed home loan through the joint Department of Defense, VA web portal eBenfits, at www.ebenefits.va.gov. To obtain information about the VA Home Loan Program, visit the program’s home page at www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. For many veterans, especially Vietnam Veterans, the onset of diabetes is very prevalent because of the exposure to Agent Orange. The exposure to herbicides during military services in other areas is also significant. For information regarding signs and symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and benefits, go to www.diabetesmilitaryveterans.gov.
Veterans Day is Nov. 11. Acknowledge our veterans when you see them by thanking them for their service. Remember to vote – you can make a difference.
Speak to you again next week.
Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133 in Mineral Wells. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By JIM VINES
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