VA Loans Reach 20 Million Mark

Military Father and Son Approaching House
Today the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced its 20 millionth home loan guarantee.

The 20 millionth VA loan was awarded to Elizabeth Carpenter, a widow of an Iraq War veteran who passed away in 2010 from cancer. Carpenter and her 3-year-old son Joey purchased a home in Woodbridge, VA with the loan. Carpenter told reporters at the ceremony how influential the loan is for her livelihood.

“Without this program and all of the benefits we have received from the VA, we would not be here,” she said.

The VA home loan program currently has 1.7 million loans worth a total of $284 billion. In 2012 alone, the VA awarded 540,000 mortgages. During the past five years, the program has significantly grown due to a low interest rate, with 71 percent more home purchases and 20 times more loan refinances than in 2007.

“The 20 millionth VA home loan is a major milestone and is a testament to VA’s commitment to support and enhance the lives of Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and survivors,” said VA undersecretary for benefits, Allison A. Hickey, in a statement. “As a result of their service and sacrifice, as a group, they prove to be disciplined, reliable, and honorable—traits that are ideal for this kind of national investment.”

Since the programs’ implementation in 1944, VA loans have allowed veterans to access lower interest rates and better refinance options than traditional loans. The program has remained true to its values since the original GI Bill, according to Mike Frueh, director of loan guaranty services for the Veterans Benefits Administration. Due to the added underwriting standards for the loan process, the veteran’s payments are more manageable for their unique budget.

Not only do VA loans assist borrowers, but they protect the lenders if the borrower fails to repay the loan. According to a report by the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgages guaranteed by the VA had the lowest foreclosure rate for the last 17 quarters, coupled with the lowest delinquency rate for the past 14 quarters.

The VA loan program’s opportunities assist homeowners in preventing foreclosure. Since 2009, this assistance has saved taxpayers over $8 billion in foreclosure avoidance.