American Pacific Mortgage has long been a supporter of the Veterans community, having provided VA loans for most of our history. We have an entire division dedicated to education, training, and assistance for loan originators so that we as a company are providing the very best possible service to our Veterans.
Several of our originators and branch managers have gone a step further, and have become active in their local chapters of VAREP (Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals), including some in leadership positions in their respective regions. To be involved, one doesn’t have to be a veteran themselves, but more often than not they are.
Veterans helping Veterans seems to be the common thread among many.
We recently spoke to Anthony Smith, an APM Loan Officer who founded the St. Louis, MO chapter for VAREP about what types of things his chapter has done.
“We have managed to donate two mortgage-free Homes to disabled veterans and their families, and have forged a relationship with the St. Louis Association of Realtors (SLAR) who allow us to hold quarterly Lunch & Learns concerning VA Loans and Veteran related issues,” Smith said. He paid particular attention to those things that he and his chapter do on an ongoing basis to support the vets in their local area. “We host Bingo at the MO Veterans Home on the first Wednesday of each month to provide cash-flow and comradery to our Heroes housed there.”
Randy Tholl, a Loan Officer for Big Valley Mortgage, a division of American Pacific Mortgage in Reno, Nevada market is also a veteran himself. He sees the huge need and value of providing for his comrades - and has focused his career on helping where he can. “VAREP helps me stay focused on the brotherhood we share as veterans, and helps me get vets educated and into homes,” he said. “Most vets aren’t given much education when we leave the service about our benefits or managing our finances, and are left to figure it out. It can be hugely overwhelming, especially since many of these decisions are made for you while you’re serving. Just last month I helped get a veteran who had been homeless for nearly 20 years into a home. It was truly one of the most rewarding days of my career to see him move from the street to temporary housing to a home of his own.”
In addition to Tholl and Smith, Carter Short is Vice President of his San Diego chapter of VAREP and Mark Doering is the President of the Yuba/Sutter chapter in California.
APM is also committed at the national level.
Our own Jeff Wilson, APM’s Director of VA Business Development, serves on the National Legislative Committee, working to affect the VA Home Loan Program legislation. During the last session of Congress, VAREP has worked with congress to consider 9 different legislative proposals that have been either advancing through Congress or been signed into law. A few of those include “Protect Veterans From Predatory Lending”, “Protect Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act of 2018”, and one in particular that is being considered is the “Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2018”. This last one would make Veterans a protected class in home buying and protect them from the rampant discrimination that goes on in the real estate industry.
If you or someone you know needs guidance or assistance with your veterans benefits, we have hundreds of trained, regional professionals ready to help, as well as a free guide to help demystify the process.