Written by James Dornbrook January 22, 2024
Leavenworth-based Armed Forces Bank partnered with a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business to launch a program called Operation Homeward.
Vector Force Development, based in Collinsville, Illinois, provides engineering, construction and workforce support services. Its traffic management and sewer camera inspection division is based in Grandview. Armed Forces Bank, part of Kanas City-based Dickinson Financial Corp., ranks No. 27 on the Kansas City Business Journal's list of area banks based on market share of deposits.
Operation Homeward provides Vector employees with a full line of mortgage programs and products, a closing-cost discount, competitive rates and terms, experienced financial consultants and access to mortgage programs such as Veterans Affairs, conventional, Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and non-qualified mortgage.
“This actually started because we helped three or four of Vector’s employees buy homes, and through the course of learning more about what they do, one thing led to another,” said Jake Scarbo, senior mortgage banker for Armed Forces Bank. “We knew they were well ingrained in the veteran community, and they knew we were focused on helping veterans, so we started talking about what a partnership might look like. It soon became Operation Homeward.”
Scarbo said the program adds to Vector's value proposition when it contacts veterans getting ready to discharge from the military about career opportunities they have to offer nationwide.
The bank probably will add more partnerships to Operation Homeward, but for now it’s focused on making sure the program runs smoothly for Vector, said Nick Alphs, president of mortgage lending at Armed Forces Bank.
Armed Forces Bank ranks in the top 50 nationwide for production of Veterans Affairs mortgages. Since 2013, the bank has helped about 28,000 clients become homeowners, closing more than $9.2 billion in loans, including more than $4.7 billion in VA loans for about 12,000 clients.
“It’s mind blowing, the lack of education across the nation around the VA product,” Alphs said. “Even veterans don’t understand that you can put zero down, regardless of the loan amount. They don’t understand that you can do more than one VA loan at a time. They don’t understand how the entitlement calculations work and that the rates are almost always better than any other program out there. It’s just a great product, as it should be.”