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. accessible edge.

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

After publishing 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 outlined in the strategy, these focus on building APIs for rapid sharing and transfer of necessary data between VAs, clients, and loan providers, as well as plans to align practices and technical capabilities on those that have been implemented in private industry.

In outlining the importance of these modernization efforts, Bell noted the growing number of veterans purchasing their homes through VA on a yearly basis – a number that has especially increased in recent years.

“In June 1944, near the end of World War II, the original Military Readjustment Act was passed. Since then, we have guaranteed $27 million in loans to veterans. Over the past decade, our loan volume has grown dramatically and has grown over 600% in the last six years alone,” Bell said.

This gave 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 the standardization of data processing and management across the entire home loan process, an update that VA plans to implement following proven industry standards.

“We’re lucky to have an industry that’s been through a lot of these issues before – defining data, defining processes, developing an industry standard – because all of that is important when you’re building an analytics platform. Everyone needs to being on the same page to define the insights before we can have that successful analytics capability,” Bell said.

Much of this data integration is 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 as keeping them informed throughout the overall home loan. process. Some of these innovations even enhance what is currently available in industry, with VA working to advance developments in the private sector.

“It’s all about transparency. That’s what we believe we owe to the industry and to the veteran. It’s about understanding how stakeholders, lenders and appraisers bring value to the transaction — how they stack up against the competition — so veterans can understand how those stakeholders work,” Bell said. ” From an educational perspective, making sure they have milestones throughout the loan lifecycle to let them know what’s next, what do I need to do to take the next step and what does this step mean? And it’s not available in the industry right now.”

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

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