Everyday, millions of hardworking Americans report to their places of duty all across the country, and these civil servants quietly work to make your lives better, safer, healthier, more productive. Today, we at the Veterans Benefits Administration want you to know who we are. We want you to know that many of us are you, and we want to share with you what it is we do and why we care.
Meet Erin Byrum, a realty specialist in property management within VA’s Loan Guaranty Service.
Byrum joined VA in 2014 after serving as a contract specialist in the Defense Department’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. She currently works and resides Tennessee.
“I wanted to see a greater impact with my work,” she said. “VA needs employees with passion and drive and with my experience in law, I felt that I could work to hold mortgage lenders and servicers to a standard that is within the best interest of Veterans — not stockholders.”
Though she isn’t a Veteran herself, Byrum identifies with VA’s mission and is particularly dedicated to aligning her skills to “help Veterans obtain, retain, and adapt housing.” Especially those who are disabled or are experiencing difficult times.
“At VA’s Loan Guaranty Service, I have the opportunity to audit the mortgage lenders and servicers that participate in the VA home loan program,” she said. “Often what we see in the news is that Veterans need an advocate on their behalf to intervene when they are not receiving adequate service or care. Working in Loan Guaranty Service on behalf of Veterans is how I have made an impact.”
Loan Guaranty Service is the program that helps Veterans obtain housing by guaranteeing their VA home loans and other housing-related programs to help buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home. The “VA home loan” was included in the original Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.
“We have processes to assist Veterans who’re behind on their mortgage, or to penalize a servicer that is not following protocol,” she continued. “We also ensure that our lenders aren’t making bad loans by requiring a too-strict quality control and review process.”
Byrum’s passion for realty and property law may seem specific and narrow in scope, but these are the attributes VA seeks in employees dedicated to the overall and program missions. Byrum isn’t alone.
“I really enjoy being able to work in an area that fits my skillset and interests,” she said. “While most people would be bored to tears, I love researching, writing, drafting regulations and manual chapters. And because my supervisors hold our team accountable for our work, I know that when I submit work it will be thoroughly reviewed and that I will have the chance to make changes and learn.
“In other government agencies,” she continued, “I have seen employees that don’t pull their weight, or whose work gets assigned to other team-members [to pick up the slack]. That is not the case on my team. It creates a close working environment, and for that I’m grateful.”
Thank you for serving our Veterans, Erin.
Did you know you can use your home loan benefit more than once? Or that if you’re behind on your mortgage, VA can help? If you have questions about your VA home loan entitlement, you can speak to a Loan Administration representative via email or phone, click here.