VA & CFPB Warning on Refinancing Offers

 

 

Colleagues and Fellow Veterans,

 

The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. During FY17, VA guaranteed over 190,000 home loans under this program. In FY 2017, there were nearly 1,500 lenders that participate in the VA Home Loan program.

 

Regrettably, some lenders have taken advantage of Servicemembers and Veterans with VA home loans in the past. They have sent unsolicited offers to refinance VA mortgages with misleading advertising. If you have a VA home loan, there is a good chance you have already come into contact with unsolicited offers which appear official and may sound too good to be true.

 

The VA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have issued their first Warning Order to Servicemembers and Veterans who currently have a VA home loan, as we have found that some of you are being targeted with misleading advertising.

 

Understand that certain advertised benefits, such as no out-of-pocket closing costs, skipped mortgage payments, and escrow refunds, are costs that are generally added to your loan and increase the overall principal balance. These are all red flags that may indicate that the loan is less likely to benefit you. Before you proceed with a VA mortgage refinance, be sure to consider the long-term and short-term benefits and consequences of refinancing your loan.

 

If you are contacted to refinance your VA mortgage, carefully consider your options and ask questions:

•Does a lower interest rate extend the term (i.e., 30-year fixed rate to another 30-year fixed rate)?

•What are the financial implications when choosing between a fixed term and an adjustable rate mortgage loan?

•What is your total payback for the new loan vs. the original loan?

•Do offers of skipped payments or cash back ultimately get added to my loan amount?

 

If you have a problem with a VA mortgage refinance or other mortgage issues, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). Please also see VA/CFPB’s blog on this topic at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/cfpb-and-va-warno-va-refinancing-offers-sound-too-good-be-true/.

 

We are working hard, along with other government agencies, to identify, stop, and prevent illegal and misleading advertising related to VA mortgages and refinancing. If you have questions that aren’t being answered by your lender, please get a second opinion from another lender, or call a VA loan specialist who is available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday at (877) 827-3702.

 

As always, thank you for your service.

 

Regards,

Curtis L. Coy

Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity

Veterans Benefits Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington, DC 20420

 

VA Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Veterans ID Card

November 29, 2017, 04:00:00 PM

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available for Veterans — yet another action honoring their service.

This has been mandated through legislation since 2015 to honor Veterans, and today’s rollout of the ID card fulfills that overdue promise.

Only those Veterans with honorable service will be able to apply for the ID card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans.

“The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most Veterans to show proof of service,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “With the card, Veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around their paper DD-214s to obtain Veteran discounts and other services.”

The VIC provides a more portable and secure alternative for those who served the minimum obligated time in service, but did not meet the retirement or medical discharge threshold. Veterans who served in the armed forces, including the reserve components, and who have a discharge of honorable or general (under honorable conditions) can request a VIC.

To request a VIC, Veterans must visit https://www.vets.gov/, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” https://www.vets.gov/?next=%2Fveteran-id-card%2F on the bottom left of the page and sign in or create an account.

Veterans who apply for a card should receive it within 60 days and can check delivery status of their cards at vets.gov. A digital version of the VIC will be available online by mid-December.

SOURCE: US Department of Veterans Affairs article, 29 November, at https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=3979

12 Dec 2017 UPDATE: The Department of Veterans Affairs has suspended applications for its new veteran identification card program due to a large number of applicants, according to  a notice on its website. Individuals accessing the site with their own VA logins and military service credentials encountered repeated errors and  are instead told they need to come back later.

 

US Air Force Chief Helps Young Airman Locate Family In Puerto Rico

By Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One, 23 October, 2017

 

Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, speaks with airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam  

After going a month without hearing from his hurricane-stricken family, Sr. Airman Malcom Soto-Gonzalez got a hand from an unexpected source. 

LAUNCH CONTROL CENTER CHARLIE, Montana — About 60 miles southeast of Great Falls, just off a two-lane highway, Sr. Airman Malcom Soto-Gonzalez keeps watch over this small building tucked behind a hill on the treeless countryside.

Armed with an M4 carbine, Soto-Gonzalez and other “Defenders” in his Air Force security-forces squadron guard nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles in their underground silos, along with the airmen who — if given the order — would enter codes and turn switches to launch them.

On Friday evening, just before dinner, Gen. David Goldfein paid a visit to the single-story control center as part of a six-day tour of nuclear-related facilities across the country. As instructed, Soto-Gonzalez described his job to the Air Force chief of staff. But it was a piece of information at the beginning of the young airman’s briefing that caught the general’s attention: Soto is from Puerto Rico, the American island recently devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Goldfein asked Soto-Gonzalez how his family made out. “I don’t know, sir,” the airman responded.

That silenced the other 10 or so people in the room. Soto-Gonzalez explained that he had last talked to his family exactly one month ago — the night before Maria struck — and had been unable to reach them since.

When Goldfein asked if the airman was worried about his mother, father, and brother, Soto-Gonzalez said, yes, but “service before self.”

Goldfein pledged to find Soto-Gonzalez’s family.

“You think about this young airman out there guarding the nation’s nuclear enterprise and pulling 12-hour shifts in a Montana winter wondering if his family is okay in Puerto Rico,” Goldfein said the next morning. The general was flying back to Washington after spending the night at the launch control center. “On the one hand, it’s an incredible testament to the dedication of this next greatest generation serving. On the other, it’s a reemphasizing [of] the responsibilities of leaders to take care of those great airmen.

“He needs to know if his family is okay, and we’re working on that right now,” he said.

Later that night, Soto-Gonzalez received a call from a friend in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard. “The first thing he said was that he had orders to be at my house to get me in contact with my family,” Soto-Gonzalez said Monday, recounting the phone call. Then, he spoke to his mother for the first time in a month.

His family is okay, but like most of the island’s population, they still have no power.

Goldfein’s opportunity to help Soto-Gonzalez find his family came totally by chance. The general was not scheduled to stop at this particular launch center. But bad weather rolled in earlier that afternoon, preventing helicopters from flying him from Malmstrom Air Force Base to a different, more distant launch control center. Soto-Gonzalez’s launch center, about an hour away, was the backup plan.

“I am more than grateful for what [Gen. Goldfein] did, and I will never forget it,” Soto-Gonzalez said.

Original article:  https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgo.afa.org%2Fe%2F285922%2Fate-family-puerto-rico-141993-%2Fbdjgn%2F135899503&data=02%7C01%7Cjprobst%40msn.com%7C76406bad5870496f07e608d51b6bfb28%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636445072940080553&sdata=JzpnE4qBexTO6ywjfDw5fkIZkpv7bVhs3LSb%2BFlUMeM%3D&reserved=0

 

SOC, a trusted global provider of integrated security and critical infrastructure solutions with a history of assuring safe and effective operations for U.S. Government and commercial customers, has several Protective Force positions that will be imminently available in the Nevada area with work expected to begin in the January 2018 timeframe. These positions are tailor-made for former and separating Security Forces personnel, and they are well-compensated with lots of overtime opportunities. There is also tremendous opportunity for career advancement at the Nevada complex as well as other worldwide SOC locations.

Interested parties should contact the below listed lead recruiter. Additional information is available through the below links and at the SOC website on “Guidance for Veterans.” It is recommended you contact the recruiter directly before doing an on-line application.

http://www.soc-usa.com/careers/guidance-for-veterans

 

Security Police Officer I - Basic Readiness
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3141/security-police-officer-i---basic-readiness/job

Security Police Officer I - Basic Readiness – CAS (Sergeant)
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3142/security-police-officer-i---basic-readiness-cas-%28sergeant%29/job

Security Police Officer III - Advanced Readiness
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3145/security-police-officer-iii---advanced-readiness/job

Security Police Officer III – (SRT) Lieutenant - Advanced Readiness
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3146/security-police-officer-iii-%28srt%29-lieutenant---advanced-readiness/job

Armorer
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3165/armorer/job

Instructor
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3149/instructor/job

Curriculum Development Specialist
https://jobs-soc-usa.icims.com/jobs/3164/curriculum-development-specialist/job

 

Jeff Windham
Recruiter II | Government Services |Mason & Hanger | SOC
Day & Zimmermann
Office 703.955.5767 | Mobile  571.612.0830
3975 Virginia Mallory Drive, Suite 200 | Chantilly, VA 20151
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Government Services
Mason & Hanger | SOC

Desert Defender Graduates First Joint Service Course

The Warfighter Word, September 2017

By Debbie Aragon, AFIMSC Public Affairs

FORT BLISS, Texas — Working side-byside, Sailors and Airmen built critical skill sets during the first joint-service security course at the Desert Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center recently.

 

Although Sailors have attended two Desert Defender classes in the past, this was the first time Air Force and Navy students completed the same course together, according to Lt. Col. Bernard Sprute, Center commander.

 

Desert Defender, the Air Force’s largest security forces readiness training center, focuses on fundamental base defense training prior to a deployment. The standard security operations curriculum experienced by the joint students focused on topics like improvised explosive device detection, mounted and dismounted patrols, counter insurgency operations, culture awareness, entry control point operations, vehicle roll-over response, as well as combat lifesaving skills.

 

Desert Defender provides “a great, fundamental baseline prior to deploying, regardless of where you’re going to deploy. Whether it be a gulf state, Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere in Africa,” the commander said.

 

Bringing U.S. military services together in a front-lines joint training environment is “huge,” Sprute added. The training offers a consistent baseline, “not just for our Air Force security forces Defenders but for those Navy security forces going down range to the very same countries (Airmen) go to and provide the same sort of base defense and ECP operations we do.” One of the Navy students in the joint course was Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Norberto, a master-at-arms, or military policeman, assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

 

“Training with the Air Force allows us to learn tactics, techniques and a skill set that we wouldn’t have access to in our branch of service,” said Norberto. “It also leads to an exchange of techniques and ideas that can be built upon each other and allows us to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for our brothers and sisters in uniform.”

 

In addition to the joint environment, Desert Defender provides a safe environment for students to learn what can inherently be dangerous skills while in a safe, controlled environment. Mistakes made during training are quickly corrected by cadre members who are always nearby.

 

“Making mistakes in training allows for us to identify and correct them before they can potentially lead to catastrophic incidents downrange. The importance of having a safe and controlled environment to practice these skills and make the mistakes beforehand can be measured by the lives it can save in the future,” Norberto said. In addition to the standard security operations course, the Center offers a wide variety of training on more than 1.1 million acres at Fort Bliss.

 

“Whether you’re talking about a base defense operations course … mounted or dismounted operations, we have convoy live-fire ranges here, we have real full distance firing ranges. We have restricted airspace that we can fly the RQ-11B Raven in … it’s a great place for Defenders to come through and receive realistic training … as realistic as we can make it,” Sprute said.

 

The RQ-11B Raven is a small, unmanned aircraft system that provides security forces with real-time, direct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and target information.

 

“(Fort Bliss) offers a very, very realistic and rigorous training environment whether you’re talking about the elevation, the mountains, the heat, the critters … you name it, very realistic training environment to what you’re going to see downrange,” the commander said.

 

Desert Defender is part of AFIMSC’s Air Force Security Forces Center, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

 

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