Statement of Mark A. Jones on VA Appraisal Modernization Legislation Before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

May 18, 2022 Advocacy Government Lending Press Release Residential


Adam DeSanctis

(202) 557-2727

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Mark A. Jones, 2022 Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Vice-Chair and CEO and Co-Founder of Amerifirst Home Mortgage, testified today on behalf of MBA before the House subcommittee on Economic Opportunity to discuss VA appraisal modernization legislation.

Details of the hearing can be found here. Click here for Mr. Jones' written statement.

[Please Note: Below, please find Mr. Jones’ prepared oral statement. Mr. Jones may add to or subtract from these remarks during the course of his testimony. Portions of the text may be omitted during the testimony.]


Mark Jones on behalf of the MBA


Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Moore, and members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify this morning on behalf of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the national association representing more than 2,200 member firms – and an industry that employs roughly 390,000 individuals – and provide real estate finance-related services in virtually every community across our nation. 

My name is Mark Jones, and I am here today in my capacity as Vice-Chairman of the MBA. I am also the co-founder and CEO of Amerifirst Home Mortgage, a privately held, independent residential mortgage lender based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I am proud and honored to be a part of Amerifirst’s growth from a single site in Kalamazoo in 1983, to more than 70 locations and 900 employees throughout the US today. To date, our company has helped countless individuals and families achieve the American Dream of homeownership – through a variety of financing options. Many of those customers have been our nation’s active duty and retired service members – who have courageously earned the right to utilize VA financing.

The MBA commends Congressman Bost for introducing H.R. 7735, the “Improving the VA Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022.” VA home loans represent one of the most important benefits our nation’s veterans earn through their selfless service to our country. This bill will accelerate the process of updating VA’s rules and program guidelines governing home appraisals – and holds the potential to make veterans’ home purchase offers more viable in the many competitive housing markets across the country.  

Today, we all know how important the dream of homeownership can be for Americans in terms of accumulating wealth and maintaining stability within our nation’s families and communities. The VA’s home loan program plays a critical role increasing the availability – and affordability – of mortgage credit for service members, veterans, and their surviving spouses. 

MBA supports H.R. 7735, which targets three specific areas that are important for our veterans and military families, including the clarification of:

  1. When an appraisal is necessary;
  2. How appraisals are to be conducted - and the process by which the VA approves valuations, and;
  3. A review of who is eligible and licensed to conduct a VA appraisal

The legislation also requires the VA to address several additional key areas for improvement, including when minimum property requirements, property waivers, and increased use of technology and hybrid appraisals should be permitted. 

Lenders, appraisers, sellers, realtors, and most importantly VA buyers will all benefit from this common-sense legislation that can help make housing markets more accessible and affordable to servicemembers. 

As consideration of H.R. 7735 progresses, MBA urges the members of this subcommittee to go further and consider directing the VA to not only modernize and streamline its current processes, but also align them with those of the FHA and the housing Government Sponsored Enterprises – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – to the greatest extent possible.

It is clear, based on today’s hearing and the numerous bills under consideration, that our military families should have full access to the benefits they have fought for and earned. 

In this regard, MBA remains concerned about the potential for further increases to VA home loan funding fees. The industry is also concerned that fee increases enacted and implemented in recent years are not properly correlated with the risks associated with the VA home loan program – putting the funding fee schedule into greater misalignment with the actual risk profile of veteran borrowers.

MBA urges Congress to ensure that these funding fees are set at levels commensurate with the risks associated with VA-guaranteed home lending – and to conduct oversight and analysis of past funding fee increases rather than levying further increases. 

In conclusion, MBA is committed to the promotion of best practices and standards that generate a healthy and responsible mortgage market, and we stand ready to assist in developing and implementing solutions to the issues under discussion today. 

Our industry looks forward to working with the subcommittee and the administration to develop practical solutions that will improve the VA home loan program and create a system that is more modern, effective, and accessible for all participants in the real estate market – especially active duty and retired service members.

Thank you again to Ranking Member Bost for introducing H.R. 7735 – and thank you for this opportunity to testify as a part of this panel this morning.  I look forward to answering any questions you may have.