Should Woman Be Allowed in Combat?

There has been a long-standing debate about whether or not women should be allowed to serve in combat units of the armed forces. A current poll online at showed that 50.3% of participates voted “Yes, create a level playing field for all qualified service members”, while 45.6 said no, and 4.1 percent were unsure.  Recently a military advisory commission, consisting of current and retired military officers, has come together to recommend that the Pentagon do away with the policy that prohibits them from being allowed to do so; hence the pot is being stirred up again.

For many years, women have been allowed to serve the country, but more in support roles, such as medics, logistics, transportation, and etc. The policy stands that women are not allowed to be assigned to a unit “smaller than a brigade whose primary mission is direct combat on the ground”. Recently a panel met to put finishing touches on a report to recommend the elimination of this policy in order to create a level playing field for ALL service members. This change would be one of the biggest “social” changes since last year when changes were made to allow gay and lesbian members to serve openly and the change to permit women in the Navy to serve on submarines for the first time.

One of the main arguments for this policy change is that it prevents around 10 percent of woman in the Army and the Marine Corps from being able to participate in specialties, which in turn prevents them from promotions and advancement. Proponents see it only fair to allow women the same opportunity as their male counterparts. Another main argument is that these women are still considered a minority and the elimination of this policy would promote diversity. The report states, “The Armed Forces have not yet succeeded in developing leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve. Minorities and women still lag behind white men in terms of number of military leadership positions.” Women currently make up about 14 percent of the military. Supporters argue the case that bringing minorities into leadership roles will help the units become more effective.

The main concern of the opponents of the policy change is that they do not believe that women have the strength and stamina to take on the hardship of combat. Men and women have to pass certain physical tests in training for the Armed Forces. They only have to meet a minimum standard. For example, 18 year old male needs to do a minimum of 42 pushups in two minutes, 71 sit-ups in two minutes, and run 2 miles in 15:54, but for an 18-year-old woman the standards are lower. She has to do 28 push-ups, 71 sit-ups, and run 2 miles in 18:54. This is one of the arguments used to show that women are physically different than men, and not as strong. The idea behind the physical training tests is that this is the MINIMUM strength and endurance any soldier needs to survive in combat. Is combat supposed to be easier for women than men? It should not be, so why are their standards lower?

Another argument is that this change will make cohesion in the units fall apart. This was one of the arguments on letting gays into the Armed Forces, as well. Many say that mixing men and women in a high stress environment will create more distraction, misconduct, an emotionally volatile environment, more physical injury, less discipline, lower standards, additional stress on instructors and recruits, and scandal. However, the new report coming out, states that there is little evidence to show that introducing women to the units breaks up cohesion. A study run by the Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services actually found that most participants in the study groups had a positive impact on mission accomplishment.

A final argument against the change is that Americans will not be able to stand watching the increasing numbers of women come home in body bags. There is quite a significant difference now in the number of losses between men and women. In the Iraq War as of January 3, 2011, only 110 women have been killed as compared to 4,300 men. In the Afghan campaign, 24 women have been killed while over 1,400 men have been killed.

Women and men are different physically and psychologically. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the fact is that there is a difference. There are many differences of opinion on this matter because of this reality. Some people believe that even though there are women who can beat a man in any strength or endurance test, that they are the exception, and not the rule, therefore women should not be allowed in combat. However, then there are those who argue that if women can handle childbirth they can handle any kind of combat. After all, women have been known to have a higher pain threshold.  Maybe the solution is to make all of the physical testing the same for each gender? Then the physical differences would become less of an issue.

Who knows if this policy will be changed or not, but many top defense leaders say that they do see a change coming someday. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, said they he expects women to serve in special operations units, such as stealth missions. He also said that he believes they will eventually be allowed to work on special operations forces. The new report recommends that women we phased in, allowing women working in specialties already to be assigned immediately to a unit that requires their expertise. Regardless of what happens with this policy it is important to remember that women in the military make incredible contributions already, and will continue to do so.

Advantages to a VA Loan

A VA loan offers many advantages over a non-VA loan. It can save you much more money and can it is one of the easiest loans to get approved. Below is a list of many of the advantages veterans should be aware of when looking into the VA loan.

· No Down Payment

This loan does not require a down payment.  There are no up-front out-of-pocket expenses with the VA loan.

· Low Interest Rate

VA loans typically have much lower interest rates than non-VA loans. This can significantly lower monthly payments.

· Faster Processing

Borrowers submit an applications and lenders that have VA approval can begin processing. They can finalize the loan without waiting for the VA to review everything, so the loan goes through everything much faster.

· VA Guarantee

The VA provides a guarantee on the loan, which protects the lender if the borrower defaults.

· No Prepayment Penalty

Some loans do not allow you to pay off a balance earlier than the set time without a penalty. This ensures a profit from the loan. Not so with the VA loan. There is no prepayment penalty.

· Cost Limitations/Discounted Fees

The VA loan was designed to lower costs to the borrower. The government actually limits the amount that can be charged in origination fees, closing costs, and appraisal fees on a VA loan. The funding fee may range from .5 to 3.3 percent, and can be paid out-of-pocket or rolled into the loan, (while some are exempt).

· Benefits for Disabled Veterans

If the veteran has any kind of service disability, they have the ability to get their funding fee waived. If the disability is permanent and 100% service connected, they may be able to get a $50,000 grant to have their home modified to accommodate the disability.

· Assumable Mortgage

With a VA loan, the veteran could transfer their loan to someone else. They would assume the loan.

· Loan Flexibility

A VA loan can be used for purchasing a home or buying land and/or to build a new house. It can also be used to refinance or modify a previous loan as well.

Low VA Rates Honors U.S. Veterans This Fourth of July!

Independence Day or the Fourth of July as it is also known as would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our United States veterans. The Fourth of July is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which allowed the United States to become free from the Kingdom of Great Britain, This document marked the commencement of the Revolutionary war, a war fought by the brave men and women who served our budding country. Many of the men were farmers and the women were mothers, but they both heeded the call of freedom and sacrificed so much to bring our country the freedom we now enjoy. While the men fought the battles with guns, the women nursed the wounded, fed the soldiers and even sometimes snuck into the battles to fight alongside the soldiers. These men and women had very important roles in our great country’s past, as they do currently! Our Veterans fight for freedom and they always have, the United States’ independence wouldn’t be, or have been, possible without the service of our incredible veterans! honors the men and women who have served our country. We invite all to celebrate this holiday by remembering those who made the United States the country that it is today by actively participating in community activities. If you are looking for a way to celebrate your Fourth of July this year, We have some suggestions! Depending on where you live we recommend you visit any of the following annual events. We Promise they won’t disappoint:

  • “American’s Freedom Festival” in Provo, Utah has the Stadium of Fire which is one of the largest freedom festivals in the United States,
  • “The Red, White & Boom” in downtown Columbus, Ohio is always a favorite. Bristol, Rhode Island has the oldest Independence Day celebration, and it’s always incredible!
  • New York City hosts the Macy’s firework display and “Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest” how does it get any more American than Fireworks and Hot dogs?
  • San Diego has a beautiful display of fireworks over Mission Bay and Chicago does a fabulous firework show over Lake Michigan.

Any of these activities would be perfect for you and your family to attend. Just don’t forget to take a second to remember our veterans this Fourth of July. Our great country wouldn’t be what it is today without the veterans of the United States of America.

VA Refinance-Payoff Statements

During a VA refinance, processing will need to get in contact with the veteran’s current lender to request a payoff statement on their current VA home loan. A payoff statement of payoff demand is a statement from the borrower’s current lender showing the amount due on a VA loan to be paid off during the refinance by the new lender.

When requesting a payoff statement, the current lender usually charges a payoff statement fee. This is a fee that a lender charges to provide a statement showing the amount due on the loan. The fee varies depending on the lender. Generally payoff statements are received via fax and because of this method of delivery; the current lender can sometimes charge a payoff demand fax fee. The fax fee just like the payoff statement fee varies depending on the borrower’s current lender.

Once the payoff statement is received, processing will look at a number of different things on the statement; first would be the principal balance or note balance. This balance is the original amount that the borrower borrowed minus the principal portion of the borrower’s regular monthly payments and any other payments that were made directly to the principal balance of the home. Next processing would look at the per diem on the loan, this is the daily interest charged on a the VA loan.  In addition to the daily interest, you are charged you may also have other fees or amounts due added to the amount owed on your home.  Some examples could include:  escrow overdrafts, unpaid late or legal fees, forced insurance premiums etc.

Payoffs are an important part of a VA refinance because they will allow for the new lender to see if the veteran is current on his/her payments and how much the new lender will need to pay the current lender to payoff the loan.

Call us today to get yours!

VA Payoff Statement

FAQ; Why do you Need Title Insurance on a VA Loan?

Between home owners insurance, property taxes, flood insurance, the VA funding fee and your mortgage payment, you may think to yourself, “What is title insurance and why do lenders require veterans to have it on VA loans?” Title insurance is a policy that protects your mortgage lender against problems relating to the property’s title prior to the date when you purchased your home. Because your home may have gone through several ownership changes, it is important to be protected against anything that could have gone wrong with your title prior to your ownership.

Title insurance insures the lender against a financial loss in case the title has any unknown judgments, outstanding liens against the property including foreclosure, unpaid real estate taxes on the property and the title insurance protects you and your lender if a lawsuit is filed against the title. An example of what title insurance protects the lender against would be if someone who previously owned the property had forged a signature in transferring title. Instead of the lender or you having to pay for this problem out of pocket, title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise from such problems.

Before issuing a title insurance policy, the title insurance company will search the public land records for matters affecting title to the property. The purpose of this examination is to determine ownership of the property and to identify any possible problems and all liens against the property. If problems are revealed by the title search, frequently they can be resolved so that clear title can pass to you.

Title insurance is required in most states to close on a mortgage for both a purchase and a refinance. On a VA refinance you will need to purchase a new title insurance policy so that the new lender can be protected the same way that the old lender was.

So even though title insurance may seem like a useless expense it actually will save you and your lender in the long run incase you end up having any problems with the title on your home.

How a VA Streamline Refinance Loan is Processed

Ever wonder what happens to all of the papers you send in to your loan officer? You might be asking yourself: who does it go to and what do they do? They go to processing. Processing a VA Streamline requires lots of help from everyone from you, the home owner who sends in your required paperwork to the loan officer who you are working with to the processing department, it is a collaborative process. Once the loan officer has your current mortgage statement, a copy of your current note, social security and or ID cards, homeowners insurance or condo policy, survey and disclosures then your file goes to processing where the processor double checks everything and processes you VA loan.

The steps that are required in processing a VA Streamline home loan:

  • Credit: The processing department must first pull credit with all three credit bureaus to determine what lender is best equipped to handle your loan. Processing makes sure that based off of your FICO that you are matched with the best lender for you.
  • Title: A home title is the record of property ownership where the owner has the right to posses the property. The title company that processing uses is based on which state you are located in.
  • COE: The COE which is the certificate of eligibility which is also formally known as the prior loan validation is run. Processing does this by go to the veteran’s information portal. The COE is an important part of a VA streamline because it proves to the lender that the veteran is eligible for a VA home loan.
  • Case Number: The case number is also order on the veteran’s information portal website. The case number is just the assignment from the VA of an internal VA loan number.  This number allows the VA to identify that your loan is in the VA system.
  • CAIVRS: A CAIVRS which is the credit alert interactive voice response system.  By using the borrower and co-borrower’s social security numbers it allows for processing to see if the borrowers are past default, have a claim, judgments or have any foreclosure records on government loans. If the borrower or co-borrower’s CAIVRS are rejected, then the borrowers cannot get a new government loan until they clear it up. This information is pulled using the HUD database.
  • Payoff: A payoff is ordered by using the borrower’s current mortgage statement. The processor will call the current lender and issue a payoff request to be sent to processing so that the new lender will know how much the current principle balance is.  The payoff determines how much it will cost to payoff your loan with your current lender.
  • Mortgagee Change: Once processing knows who your lender is going to be and what the loan number on the new account will be, processing then calls the borrower’s insurance company to change the mortgagee.  The mortgagee change requires the insurance company to change the lender information on an insurance policy.  This is important so that the insurance company knows who holds the loan and if the account will be escrowed or not.

After all of these steps are finished processing gives your file back to the loan officer. These are the steps that processing works on when processing a VA streamline home loan.

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*Annual savings calculator based on 2015 monthly average savings extrapolated year-to-date.