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Morongo Becomes First So Cal Tribe to Sign Agreement Helping Native American Veterans Secure Home Loans

MORONGO INDIAN RESERVATION – The Morongo Band of Mission Indians has become the first Southern California tribe to reach an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs allowing the VA to provide direct home loans to qualifying tribal veterans to buy, build or refurbish a home on reservation trust lands. At a ceremony at the Morongo Tribal Council Chambers, Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin and Jeffrey London, director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service in Washington, D.C., signed a memorandum of understanding to allow the VA Native American Direct Loans to be offered at Morongo. The Morongo Tribal Council and officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office in Washington D.C. and the Phoenix Regional Loan Center also attended the event. “Historically, securing a home loan has always been an extremely difficult process for Native Americans, and it’s exponentially harder if the property is located on reservation land,” Martin said. “This agreement will help ensure that our tribal veterans who have honorably served in the U.S. military will be able to purchase, construct, or improve a home for their families, and that the terms of that loan will be fair.” Native American Direct Loans are offered with no down payment, no private mortgage insurance and competitive interest rates, which are now set at 4.00%.

“The VA Native American Direct Loan is an excellent option when a mortgage lender is unwilling or unable to make a loan on trust land,” London said. To be eligible, an applicant must be a veteran who is a tribal member, or the spouse of a tribal member, with sufficient length of military service. The home being financed must be on trust or allotted land and must be the veteran’s residence (rental and investment properties do not qualify). The veteran and, if applicable, the spouse, must have a satisfactory credit rating and a reliable income source sufficient to meet repayment obligations. “We are excited about partnering with the Morongo Band to serve veterans, and we look forward to helping more Native American veterans by establishing more MOUs with other tribal nations in Southern California," London said. The VA has made over 1,000 loans since the program began in 1997.

For information about eligibility and how to apply, contact the Morongo Realty Department at 951-849-4697 or visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/nadl.asp

PHOTO CAPTIONS Photo 1: Jeffrey London (left), director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service in Washington, D.C., and Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin sign an MOU agreement with Morongo Tribal Council Members Brian Lugo (background) and John Muncy. Photo 2: Morongo Tribal Council Member Brian Lugo (left), Jeffrey London, director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service in Washington, D.C., Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin, and Morongo Tribal Council Member John Muncy beside the Morongo Veterans Memorial.