New VA Program to Provide 2.5% Home Loans

Thousands of veterans are facing foreclosure as pandemic-era forbearances end. The new loan program is only available to eligible veterans

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a last-resort program that provides 2.5% interest rate home loans to more than 40,000 veterans who are facing foreclosure.

Through the Veterans Affairs Servicing Purchase (VASP) program, the VA will purchase defaulted VA loans from mortgage servicers, modify the loans and place them in the VA-owned portfolio as direct loans. This allows the VA to work directly with eligible homeowner so the loans and the monthly payments can be adjusted. Borrowers – eligible veterans, active-duty service members and surviving spouses with VA-guaranteed home loans who are experiencing severe financial hardship – will have a fixed 2.5% interest rate.

The program comes after thousands of veteran homeowners were told to pay a lump sum to rectify their pandemic-era forbearances or refinance at higher interest rates. An NPR investigation found upwards of 6,000 borrowers with VA loans in the program are in foreclosure and 34,000 others are delinquent. In December, the VA called on mortgage servicers to pause foreclosures on VA-backed loans.

Consumer advocates at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) expressed support for the new program and urged the VA to extend the foreclosure pause, currently set to expire on May 31, until the VASP program is widely available.

“The VASP program is badly needed as veteran borrowers have had no meaningful alternatives to foreclosure for over a year,” said Steve Sharpe, an NCLC senior attorney. “The VA must extend the foreclosure pause until VASP is implemented so that all eligible borrowers have fair access to the new program. We also urge VA to eliminate any rules that unnecessarily limit access to VASP for borrowers who previously received unaffordable loan modifications.”

The VA said mortgage servicers will identify qualified borrowers beginning May 31 and submit requests based on a review of all available home retention options and qualifying criteria. Veterans facing financial hardship should work with their mortgage servicers to explore available options, the VA said.

“When a veteran falls on hard times, we work with them and their loan servicers every step of the way to help prevent foreclosure — including offering repayment plans, loan modifications, and more,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Josh Jacobs. “But some veterans still need additional support after those steps, and that’s what VASP is all about. This program will help ensure that when a veteran goes into default, there is an additional affordable payment option that will work in a higher interest rate environment — so they can keep their homes.”

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James C Jones PA, Lic Realtor ® & native of SW Florida
Cornerstone Coastal Properties www.realestateofswfl.com
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