Share on StockTwits

LIGHTING RELEASES — (RIVERSIDE, CA/WASHINGTON D.C.) June 3, 2014 – Biases, insufficient knowledge of VA loans among industry service providers and lack of financial literacy are key barriers to homeownership for servicemembers and veterans, according to leaders from the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP). 

The 5000-member non-profit association will host the first ever policy forum focused on homeownership and lending in the military and veteran community next week at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Officials from the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and executives from the nation’s biggest banks are scheduled to appear on the program. For more information go to: http://varep.net/2014conference/

VAREP leaders will use the four-day forum, Capitol Hill visits and policy recommendations to cast a spotlight on some of the barriers that challenge military and veteran homebuyers and homeowners including shortcomings in industry services, biases against working with military, and an outdated VA loan program that is no longer competitive. In a three-point legislative plan, the group is calling for reforms that deliver improved financial literacy education for service members and veterans, an overhaul of the VA loan program and increased training for practitioners and industry service providers to improve understanding of military benefits and program guidelines.

“While homeownership is the American Dream, barriers are greater for servicemember and veteran communities. We believe many of the issues that challenge these borrowers can be overcome through the collective effort of policymakers, government agencies and industry stakeholders,” said Son Nguyen, founder and president of VAREP.

General session discussions are also expected to cover forces that are driving low usage of VA loans; factors that contribute to the lack of financial literacy among servicemembers and veterans and the hits and misses with current solutions; trends in mortgage complaints to the CFPB; and inherent unspoken biases toward working with military consumers that influence transactions.

Nguyen sees timing and the association’s role as a conversation driver as critical since no one agency or industry group addresses the issues holistically. “There is no single platform that brings industry stakeholders and government officials together in constructive discussion with practitioners to talk about service to the military. This is a fundamental problem that makes creating consensus on key issues nearly impossible,” he added. The group is hoping to effect solutions before combat veterans begin returning en masse from Afghanistan.

Established in 2011, the USA Homeownership Foundation, Inc. DBA Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities. VAREP and its 5000 members represent and work within all sectors of the real estate, housing, and financial-services industries. Its goal is to preserve the American Dream of homeownership for US servicemembers and veterans of all eras.

 

Contact: Mary Mancera, Phase Two Communications (760) 505-2911