VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, Public Affairs Team Member
Colleagues and Fellow Veterans,
The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. During FY17, VA guaranteed over 190,000 home loans under this program. In FY 2017, there were nearly 1,500 lenders that participate in the VA Home Loan program.
Regrettably, some lenders have taken advantage of Service Members and Veterans with VA home loans in the past. They have sent unsolicited offers to refinance VA mortgages with misleading advertising. If you have a VA home loan, there is a good chance you have already come into contact with unsolicited offers which appear official and may sound too good to be true.
The VA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have issued their first Warning Order to Service Members and Veterans who currently have a VA home loan, as we have found that some of you are being targeted with misleading advertising.
Understand that certain advertised benefits, such as no out-of-pocket closing costs, skipped mortgage payments, and escrow refunds, are costs that are generally added to your loan and increase the overall principal balance. These are all red flags that may indicate that the loan is less likely to benefit you. Before you proceed with a VA mortgage refinance, be sure to consider the long-term and short-term benefits and consequences of refinancing your loan.
If you are contacted to refinance your VA mortgage, carefully consider your options and ask questions:
- Does a lower interest rate extend the term (i.e., 30-year fixed rate to another 30-year fixed rate)?
- What are the financial implications when choosing between a fixed term and an adjustable rate mortgage loan?
- What is your total payback for the new loan vs. the original loan?
- Do offers of skipped payments or cash back ultimately get added to my loan amount?
If you have a problem with a VA mortgage refinance or other mortgage issues, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). Please also see VA/CFPB’s blog on this topic at:https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/cfpb-and-va-warno-va-refinancing-offers-sound-too-good-be-true/.
We are working hard, along with other government agencies, to identify, stop, and prevent illegal and misleading advertising related to VA mortgages and refinancing. If you have questions that aren’t being answered by your lender, please get a second opinion from another lender, or call a VA loan specialist who is available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday at (877) 827-3702.
As always, thank you for your service.
Curtis L. Coy, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity, Veterans Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC 20420
VA has some programs for veterans with VA-guaranteed home loans that are or coming to be delinquent like Service Members Civil Relief Act (To qualify for certain protections available under the Act, their obligation must have originated prior to their current period of active duty service)
Assistance to Veterans with VA-Guaranteed Home Loans and Assistance to Veterans with Non-VA-Guaranteed loans – Call 1-877-3702 to speak to a VA Loan Technician.
VA Refinancing of a Non-VA-Guaranteed Home Loan: These options are because of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 – For more information call 1-877-827-3702.
Preventing Veteran Homelessness – Veterans who believe they may be facing homelessness because of losing their home can call 1-877-424-3838 or any local VFW Post Service Officer for possible local help.
Unlike the American Legion Financial Grant program (which is in need of funding) the VFW offers Unmet:
The Eligibility Criteria is:
Currently on active duty, whose financial hardship is a result of a current deployment, military pay error, or from being discharged for medical reasons:· Discharged on or after September 11, 2001, whose financial hardship is a direct result of your military service connected injuries and/or illnesses that are causing an employment hardship; or Discharged prior to September 11, 2001, who are on a fixed income (VA compensation, SSI, SSDI) and/or your financial hardship is an emergency situation.
The financial hardship cannot be caused by: Civil, legal or domestic issues, misconduct, or any issues that are a result of spousal separation or divorce. Financial mismanagement by self or others, or due to bankruptcy.
All grants are paid directly to the creditor and not to the applicant. The applicant must provide the most current bills due. We will render payment for eligible current bills only.
Expenses Eligible for payment: Household expenses – mortgage, rent, repairs, insurance; Vehicle expenses – payments, insurance, repairs (major repairs for vehicles over ten years old will not be considered);. Utilities. Food and clothing. Children’s clothing, diapers, formula, school or childcare expenses; Medical bills, prescriptions & eyeglasses – the patient’s portion for necessary or emergency medical care only.
Ineligible Expenses: Credit cards, military charge cards or retail store cards. Cable, Internet, or secondary phones. Cosmetic or investigational medical procedures & expenses. Taxes – property or otherwise. Furniture, electronic equipment or vehicle rentals.
Any other expenses not determined to be a basic life need. The eligible and ineligible expense lists are not all inclusive. Each case will be carefully reviewed for its own merits. Upon approval, payments will be made for you directly to the creditor. All applications are individually reviewed, and the VFW reserves the right to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. For more information, contact Unmet Needs at 1-866-789-6333 or go see your local VFW Service Officer.