October 13, 2017

Following Inquiry from Warren, VA and Ginnie Mae Launch Joint Task Force to Crack Down on Mortgage Lenders Scamming Veterans

HousingWire Reports: "Ginnie Mae, VA launch task force to look into lenders targeting veterans for quick refinances"

Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren last month raised concerns that certain companies may be aggressively and misleadingly marketing the refinancing of mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), generating fees for themselves at the expense of veterans and American taxpayers. Following her inquiry, Ginnie Mae publicly pledged to work with Senator Warren and other key federal agencies to hold lenders accountable, and announced the creation of a joint task force with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to address the issue. The task force was officially launched today.

A number of veterans' organizations also spoke in support of Senator Warren's commitment to addressing this issue:  

  • The American Legion: "The American Legion applauds Senator Warren for her leadership and efforts to protect our veterans from financial predators," said National Commander Denise Rohan. "Senator Warren's direct involvement with Ginnie Mae alerted the agency to the problem and initiated efforts to crack down on unscrupulous refinancers. The American Legion is elated to see Ginnie Mae acting upon Senator Warren's recommendation of creating a task force, in concert with the VA, to protect veterans from these lenders."
  • Military Officers Association of America (MOAA): "The Military Officers Association of America is pleased Ginnie Mae and the VA are proactively addressing predatory lending on servicemembers. Our men and women in uniform deserve respect and access to financial services free from unscrupulous lenders. We are grateful for Senator Warren's efforts to get this task force on its feet to crack down on those specific companies who are taking advantage of veterans who use the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan refinancing option," said Lt. Gen Dana T. Atkins USAF (Ret), President and CEO of MOAA.
  • Veterans Inc: "As the leader of New England's largest non-profit provider of veterans' services, it is difficult to convey the outrage and frustration we feel over those who would prey upon our veterans. Our agency, which provides supportive housing to veterans in need and assists veteran families with accessing long-term housing, often has to step in and fill the void when a veteran has lost their home," said Vincent J. Perrone, President and CEO of Veterans Inc. and a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. "I applaud Senator Warren for taking this fight directly to Ginnie Mae, to try to secure intervention on behalf of our veterans. These brave men and women have earned, through service and sacrifice, lives of dignity and respect. We cannot allow predatory mortgage practices to undermine the security of their homes."
  • VoteVets: "We cannot thank Senator Warren enough for recognizing this issue, and taking it head on.  Unfortunately, there are many in this country who look to take advantage of our veterans and the benefits they have earned," said Will Fischer, Director of Government Relations for VoteVets. "Thankfully, we have true champions like Senator Warren who work day in and day out to make sure those scammers don't get away with it. We are pleased to hear that Ginnie Mae has heeded her call."

HousingWire: Ginnie Mae, VA launch task force to look into lenders targeting veterans for quick refinances

By Ben Smith
October 13, 2017

Roughly one month ago, Ginnie Mae announced that it was launching an investigation into mortgage lenders that were aggressively targeting servicemembers and military veterans for quick and potentially risky refinances of their mortgages.

The investigation came on the heels of a letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who cited a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which covered complaints received from veterans about Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage refinancing.

Warren's letter claimed that there may be lenders "aggressively and misleadingly marketing the refinancing of mortgages backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, generating fees for themselves at the expense of veterans and American taxpayers."

Now, Ginnie Mae and the VA are launching a task force to "address mortgage refinancing issues" surrounding VA loans.

The task force, which is called the "Joint Ginnie Mae - VA Refinance Loan Task Force," will focus on "examining critical issues, important data and lender behaviors related to refinancing loans and will determine what program and policy changes should be made by the agencies to ensure these loans do not pose an undue risk or burden to Veterans or the American taxpayer."


Read the full article from HousingWire here.