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What's the goal of my new column in the pages of National Mortgage Professional Magazine and what on earth does SITREP really mean! It means "Situation Report,” and it's military terminology often used to keep various aspects of the military up to speed on ongoing situations. That's the goal of this column … to provide our readers with a monthly "Situation Report" on VA home loans and VA resources. I'll be tackling VA guidelines, changes, origination experiences, dispelling rumors and myths, and who knows, perhaps some of my friends involved with VA Loan Policy will chime in from time to time and help us out.
For some of you regular readers, many of you know who I am. And for those diving into this magazine up for the first time, I'd like to tell you a little about myself.
I have been a mortgage professional originating VA loans for more than 13 years, nearly 55 percent of my business in the New England area is VA origination (impressive for the New England territory). I'm a board member with NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals and hold a position on the Executive Board of the association, serving as secretary. I'm the Immediate Past Government Affairs Chairman, and last but not least, a vocal advocate and supporter of our military servicemen and servicewomen.
Growing up in Massachusetts, I had the same dream as any other baseball player from New England. I wanted to walk into Fenway Park and call it my home field! I came somewhat close, but realized early on it wasn't meant to be! Damn sliders on the outside corner of the plate were the death of me! So, the only other dream I ever had was to serve my country as a soldier. It really didn't matter which branch it was that took me, I just wanted to do my part and serve my country as did my grandfathers, father, uncle cousins had done. I wanted to make a difference and wanted to proudly wear the uniform. I always joke about it, but I cannot really blame the U.S. Air Force for not letting me join up, I guess they have a slight problem with a severe asthmatic flying a $30 million F-15E Strike Eagle in an oxygen-deprived environment! I could have handled it!
So, I decided many years ago that if I couldn't serve my country as a soldier, I'd focus as much free time as I could on serving those who served for me! I realized early on in my career as a mortgage professional that our veterans were not receiving the advice owed to them. Too many were being told "... the VA home loan isn't for you,” "... it's too difficult to get VA financing," “... the VA loan takes too long to process," and “… your offer will never be accepted.” I can't tell you how many veterans I work with who have conventional or FHA financing because they were advised the benefit they earned was too tough to obtain. My humble opinion … in many cases, the main reason for this mistreatment was simply the result of an industry professional who was more concerned with a paycheck and not concerned with providing the veteran with the benefit they deserve. I cannot tell you enough how fired up I get when I run into these situations!
My dream to become a soldier never materialized, however, I have an undying passion to assist those who gave so much for me and my family. As I close out my first column, please remember this … the VA home loan is not a program and cannot be treated as a program. The VA home loan is a benefit as defined in the Codified Federal Regulations of the United States. We as mortgage professionals need to look upon each other as Benefit Providers! We as mortgage professionals need to do all we can to ensure this benefit is administered in as many cases as possible. We as mortgage professionals need to ensure that our veterans have the opportunity to make the American dream of homeownership a reality!
If you haven't already, take a minute today to thank a veteran. We owe them more than they owe us!
Richard M. Bettencourt Jr., CRMS, CMHS of Danvers, Mass.-based Mortgage Network is secretary of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (978) 304-0818 or e-mail [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.