House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) today introduced a pair of bills to address the needs of veterans during the ongoing subprime mortgage market crisis.
"I am very pleased to offer these important pieces of legislation," said Chairman Filner. "The current VA home loan program is irrelevant because fees for the loans are too high and equity requirements are overly restrictive. As a result, veterans are forced to turn to the commercial mortgage market, which is risky and volatile. Loan products in this market offer non-traditional features that have recently lead to the rise in delinquency and foreclosures in the subprime market among the veteran population."
H.R. 4884, The Veteran Home Loan Guaranty Improvement Act of 2008, will make home loans more accessible to veterans by easing restrictions on the home loan guaranty programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill eliminates the equity requirements for refinancing in response to the declining home values which prohibit many veterans from qualifying for the benefit. The bill also reduces the VA guaranteed home loan funding fees to one percent and eliminates the funding fees for veterans seeking to refinance a home loan, among other things.
H.R. 4883 will prohibit foreclosure of property owned by a servicemember for one year following a period of military service.
"For many of our returning servicemembers and veterans, the stress of what they have gone through in war is still prevalent when they return home," continued Chairman Filner. "Unfortunately, for many of these heroes, subprime loans are the only option when they do not have the best credit score, and more often than not, their low credit score is a direct result of their service to our country. These bills protect veterans from predatory lending, increase opportunities for homeownership and protect veterans from foreclosure for a whole year after their military service. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the new year to address the negative impact the recent subprime foreclosures have had on our veterans and servicemembers."