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Military Connection: VA Tops 21 Million Home Loans: By Debbie Gregory

VA 21 Million loansAs of October, 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has guaranteed 21 million home loans for Veterans since the Home Loan Guaranty program was established in 1944. The program was one of the original benefits of the original Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the “GI Bill.”

This colossal milestone for the VA comes during its year-long commemoration, celebrating 70 years of the “GI Bill.” The bill established a wide range of benefits for Veterans returning from World War II. The original GI Bill provided zero-down, low-interest home loans, as well as education and vocational training benefits.

The VA Home Loan Program provides housing and home loan related benefits and services for eligible Veterans, service members and surviving spouses, in order to make home ownership possible and affordable. The majority of all VA loans are made with zero down payments.

In fiscal year 2014, the VA Home Loan Program guaranteed around 35,000 loans per month, resulting in a total of 438,398 VA home loans guaranteed for the year. The total value of all outstanding VA loans is over $380 billion. The program also approved 1,253 grants to disabled Veterans for the purchase, modification, *or* construction of a home adapted to meet their individual housing needs.

Despite what many people believe, the VA does not give loans directly to Veterans. The VA partners with approved lenders who provide the loans to eligible Veterans, and essentially vouches for the Veteran. Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that mortgages guaranteed by the VA Home Loan Program had the lowest foreclosure rate for more than the last five years, when compared to all other types of home loans in the nation, including prime loans. But the VA will assume part of the responsibility on the rare occasion when a Veteran is unable to pay off a VA loan.

Through GI Bill home loans and other loan serving efforts, the VA has helped 21 million Veterans fulfill their dream of becoming homeowners, and for many more, keep that dream alive. In Fiscal 2014, through loan servicing efforts, the VA Home Loan Program also helped nearly 80,000 Veteran borrowers to avoid foreclosure.  These actions saved taxpayers close to $2.8 billion in avoided claim payments.

Veterans can obtain a certificate of eligibility for a VA-guaranteed home loan through the VA Home Loan Program at: www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans.

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Military Connection: VA Tops 21 Million Home Loans: By Debbie Gregory