WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) announced that the Protecting Veterans from Predatory Lending Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation he introduced with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), was included as a provision in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, bipartisan legislation currently being considered by the Senate.
The Protecting Veterans from Predatory Lending Act of 2018 would protect veterans from targeted predatory home loan practices by requiring lenders to demonstrate a material benefit to consumers when refinancing their mortgage.
“Over the last few years, a few bad actors have taken advantage of the VA home loan program and began targeting veterans and servicemembers to generate profit and fees at their expense, often leading to higher loan amounts and putting families in a worse financial position than they started off,” said Senator Tillis. “The VA home loan program was designed to give our men and women in uniform the opportunity to become homeowners as they raise their families, and we must do everything we can to protect them from predatory home-lending. I am glad this legislation was included in the bipartisan banking relief bill being considered by the Senate, and I look forward to getting this important piece of legislation passed and signed into law.”
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) home loan program was designed to provide veterans and servicemembers with the opportunity to purchase their own home through a VA insured mortgage from a private lender. VA loans have lower credit score requirements than other mortgages, and often don’t require down payments. Since its inception, it has insured more than 20 million home loans to help veterans become homeowners.
However, today a small number of lenders are abusing the program by utilizing misleading advertising tactics and engaging in a practice known as “churning” – the refinancing of a home loan over and over again to generate fees and profits for lenders at the direct expense of veterans and their families, often without their knowledge.
Over a period of time from April of 2016 through August of 2017, over 1,000,000 VA home loans were made, including 50,000 loans in North Carolina alone, and almost half of those were refinanced VA loans. The vast majority of those refinanced loans are being originated by good actors, but this legislation addresses a pool of refinanced VA loans—over 40,000 nationwide and 1,000+ in North Carolina over the aforementioned time period—wherein veterans may have been subjected to abusive lending practices by some in the marketplace who engage in “churning.”