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Citing recent surveys conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other mortgage industry experts, the CEO of a prominent national mortgage lender today warned veterans who are interested in refinancing their VA home loans to carefully scrutinize the details of their refinance proposal, especially their closing costs and interest rate, before they formally apply for the loan and again at closing.
"Last year, a record number of America's veterans took advantage of the VA loan program and either purchased a new home or refinanced," said Jim Nutter, Jr, President, and CEO of James B. Nutter & Company, "We think that's great news. However, a significant number of mortgage lenders have taken notice and are aggressively targeting veterans with refinance offers that come with high-interest rates and exorbitant fees. It's absolutely reprehensible, but unfortunately, we're seeing more and more of this activity."What Are Veterans SayingSurvey data compiled by the CFPB confirms the trend that more and more veterans are being solicited with multiple refinance offers, some of which are deceptive. In their report entitled A Snapshot of Service member Complaints, the CPFB reported that veterans were being proactively contacted by lenders with promises of rates lower than their existing mortgages, only to end up at the closing table with much worse terms than they expected.
"Based on what we've seen, the CFPB's report is spot-on," Nutter commented. "To give you just one example, our Company recently reviewed a Loan Estimate for one veteran in which they were not only being charged excessive discount points for a VA streamline refinance, but the interest rate they were getting was a full 1% higher than the prevailing market rate. We estimated that this overcharging would've added an additional $10,000 in profit to the lender's pocket, and all at the expense of our nation's finest. It's just shameful."The CFPB report also noted other issues that veterans are encountering, such as underwriting terms that aren't being disclosed or clearly explained, a lack of communication between the lender and the veteran, and long processing times which cause the veteran's interest rate lock to expire."Look, I think we owe everything to our nation's service members and the very least we can do for them is to help them achieve the American dream of homeownership," Nutter said. "Frankly, I don't think that's asking a lot. But for a lender to specifically target veterans, tell them about all of the favorable loan terms that VA loans have, and then overcharge them, it's just wrong."Read more opinion articles here.