Industry poised to donate as many as 11,000 homes to veterans within the next year
Todd Hill is Director of Government Affairs at the Housing Policy Council.
Today President Barack Obama announced voluntary industry commitments by several member companies to the Financial Services Roundtable and its Housing Policy Council to broaden the companies’ efforts under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA suspends or postpones certain civil and financial obligations for service members who have dropped their personal affairs to answer their nation’s call to military duty.
Proactive searches of the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) database at the Department of Defense (DOD) to determine active duty status of service members
Proactive outreach to SCRA-eligible active duty service members
Streamlined processes and procedures for eligible service members to activate their SCRA protections
As part of the president’s announcement, guidance will be forthcoming from the DOD that broadens the definition of military orders to include a certificate from the DMDC confirming active status of a service member for the purposes of the SCRA six percent interest rate cap on mortgage loan debt incurred prior to active service.
This is an important development that enables both companies involved in the voluntary agreements with the White House, as well as any financial services company with military customers eligible for the SCRA interest rate protection, to accept positive searches for active duty status from DMDC. Current SCRA law requires that a service member submit written notification and military orders to receive the interest rate protection. Recognizing positive searches from DMDC lessens the burden of a service member’s requirement to submit written notice and military orders to their financial services company in order to receive the SCRA interest rate cap.
These voluntary agreements by FSR and HPC member companies represent a tremendous amount of work and resources that many of these companies have brought to bear in better serving their military customers and addressing their unique financial services needs.
In addition to the voluntary industry commitments to SCRA, FSR and HPC have released “Project Patriotism: Homes for Heroes 2.0,” a paper that highlights efforts by a growing number of financial services companies to transfer Real Estate Owned (REO) distressed or foreclosed properties to service members, wounded warriors and their families.
These efforts, which have grown significantly in the last several years, include refurbishing distressed homes, prepare qualified veterans for long-term homeownership, and either directly donate or transfer the property to veterans at a significantly discounted amount. The policy paper also includes a detailed list of the various programs, products and services that many FSR and HPC member companies offer to military customers and their dependents.
FSR and HPC are proud to work closely with our member companies to expand and strengthen their commitments to military customers and applaud today’s announcement as a significant development that will positively affect thousands of our nation’s heroes.