VA embarks on long-term modernization of home loan program

The agency’s recently released LGY roadmap outlines investments in APIs, centralized dashboards designed to streamline the home buying process.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has embarked on a year-long program to modernize its home loan guarantee process and streamline services through the creation of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and dashboards. edge accessible.

In an interview with GovernmentCIO Media & Research, VA Loan Guarantee Program Deputy Director John Bell III described the agency’s ultimate goals for one of its most widely used benefit programs.

After having published its “LGY” roadmap in the third quarter of 2021, VA is now creating the technical foundations necessary for a large-scale reform of its mortgage services. As stated in the strategy, these focus on building APIs for rapid sharing and transfer of necessary data between VAs, customers and loan providers, as well as plans to align practices and technical capacities with those that have been implemented in the private sector.

In describing the importance of these modernization efforts, Bell noted the growing number of veterans who purchase their homes through VA on an annual basis – a figure that has especially increased in recent years.

“In June 1944, towards the end of World War II, the first military readjustment law was passed. We have since guaranteed $ 27 million in loans to veterans. Over the past decade, our lending volume has grown dramatically and increased by over 600% over the past six years, ”said Bell.

This has given an even greater impetus to create the IT infrastructure to better meet this growing demand for VA home loan services. One of the centerpieces of this will include standardizing the handling and management of data throughout the mortgage lending process, an update VA plans to implement following proven industry standards.

“We’re fortunate to have an industry that’s been through a lot of these issues before – defining the data, defining the processes, developing an industry standard – because all of that is important when you build an analytics platform. Everyone has to be on the same page to define information before they can have this effective analysis capability, ”said Bell.

Much of this data integration is being developed with the goal of providing greater transparency to the overall loan guarantee process, particularly in terms of helping to educate veterans about the types of loans they can access, as well. than to keep them informed throughout the overall home loan. to treat. Some of these innovations even improve on what is currently available in industry, with VA striving to advance developments in the private sector.

“It’s all about transparency. This is what we believe owes the industry and the veteran. It’s about understanding how stakeholders, service providers and appraisers add value to the transaction – how they stack up against the competition – so that veterans can understand how those stakeholders behave, ” Bell said. “From an educational point of view, making sure they have milestones throughout the loan life cycle to let them know what’s next, what do I need to do to move on to the next step and what does this step mean? And it’s not available in the industry at the moment. “

Going forward, VA plans to focus on developing the APIs needed to facilitate this information sharing that will ultimately make the mortgage lending process more accessible, faster, and overall easier for the growing number of veterans who use service every year. This will result in the creation of easily accessible dashboards through which veterans can visualize all the data and information relevant to their home loan process.

“These analytical dashboards that we will be able to provide will not only show how VA is performing on its own terms, but also how VA is performing against its industry competitors and other lending products? These are some of the exciting things that we really want to open the door to. And some of them will go through contract vehicles where we access information from other entities and then put it in our data warehouse, then access that information and visualize it back. Or it could be through direct APIs that we build with these entities, ”Bell said.

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