According to Military.com, women now make up 15% of active duty and 18 percent of Guard/Reserve service members. Based on recent trends across all branches of the armed services, veterans and female VA users are expected to double again in the next decade. Unfortunately, despite growing numbers, female veterans continue to underutilize VA care and benefits. As a society, we are quick to thank members of the military for their service, but perhaps a more meaningful way to show our respect and appreciation for their time in uniform would be to make sure they are receiving the full extent of the veteran benefits they have earned and most assuredly deserve.
As female mortgage lenders, we can do and should do our part to make that goal a reality. As a loan officer who specializes in VA loans, I’ve witnessed some of the lack of education and unfortunate stigmas that contribute to the underutilization of this valuable benefit.
What follows are some tips and advice—based on my own experiences in this important and rewarding market space—for female mortgage lenders looking to empower more female veterans to leverage their VA Loan benefits and close more VA loans.
Step One: Ask
This may sound simple, but the first step in making sure a borrower takes advantage of their VA benefits is to ask if she is a veteran! Too many lenders forget or neglect to ask, especially when the borrower is a woman. Many vets don’t even know that they have a VA loan benefit available to them.
Transitioning out of the military into civilian life can be a chaotic and overwhelming process, and service members have so much information thrown at them that it’s not surprising when they don’t know about or recall learning about their VA loan benefit. Starting the conversation by asking if they are veterans and, if so, helping them understand what that benefit looks like and how it applies to their circumstances, is an all-too-often neglected first step.