The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, whose loans remain one of the few no-downpayment options in this tight market, have made more than 162,000 home loan guaranties this year, an increase of more than 31 percent over the same period last year. The VA has tried to streamline the loan process by allowing veterans to apply for a loan before they obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility. Once borrowers demonstrate that they are otherwise eligible, lenders can access the program's Web portal to use VA's online Automated Certificate of Eligibility (ACE) system and obtain the certificate for the veteran. Many times, lenders receive the certificate within seconds, and the VA processes the application in less than 24 hours. VA-guaranteed home loans are made to eligible veterans, service members and surviving spouses through private mortgage lenders throughout the U.S.
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