Veteran Sergeant Mary Johnson, now 62, doesn’t seek out trouble. Nor does she run from it. In fact, the Army Veteran has faced major storms and conflict arenas just to help those in need. “I really enjoy meeting and helping people, and the Army has given me the opportunity to do that,” she says.
Johnson grew up in Oklahoma City and enlisted in the Army at the age of 21 where she served for 7 years. She, then, spent 20 years in the National Guard at Fort Hunter Liggett in Jolson, CA and trained annually as an RTO communicator at Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) in Killeen, TX.
For much of her career, Johnson served as a property book officer, which meant maintaining account property records, scheduling and monitoring monthly inventories, and investigating losses. She also trained and observed soldiers and served as a medically-trained support specialist in Germany. Over her three decades of service, Johnson was called to the frontline many times: She worked in support for Operation Desert Storm, she walked the streets of Los Angeles to help quell violence and looting following the police beating of Rodney King, and she was sent to Oklahoma City to help victims of the Bridge Creek-Moore tornado.
Rewarding Her Service
In 1997, Johnson decided it was time to settele down and purchase a home. In preparation, Johnson pulled her VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which confirms for a lender that you qualify for the VA home loan benefit.
That’s why she and Samuel were so surprised when a lender they contacted in Oklahoma City said they didn’t qualify to use Mary’s VA Loan entitlement. “It didn’t make much sense,” she says, “I’d served my country, I felt I should be able to use a VA Loan to buy our house.”
The Johnsons bought the single-family home anyway, putting $20,000 down and using a conventional mortgage from a different lender than AMS. Several years later, they decided to try and refinance. Again, for the refinance transactions, Mary pulled her service certificate, but was told she didn’t qualify to use her VA Loan entitlement. “I was getting very frustrated at this point and felt I shouldn’t let this go,” she says.
Reaching Out to AMS
That’s when Johnson turned to AMS. “I received an email from AMS a few months ago encouraging Veterans to refinance to lower their mortgage loan interest rate,” she says. “I was a little skeptical, given my past experiences with mortgage companies, but decided to call anyway.”
Johnson made the call and was put in touch with Mark McNally, an AMS Military Mortgage Advisor based in Denver. McNally ran the numbers and agreed with the couple that refinancing would be a good decision and explained how the Johnsons could refinance into a VA Loan and pull some cash out of their home.
“Mark was extremely helpful and stayed in touch during the whole process, which took about five weeks,” says Johnson. “For the first time, I was working with a lender who was really listening to us.”
With the refinance to a VA Loan, the Johnsons have lowered their interest rate from 3.75% to 2.5%. They also pulled cash out of the home to pay some bills and loans and remodel one of their bathrooms. “The entire process was very smooth. Mark never gave up on me. He’s really here to help Veterans.”
Johnson says she has several friends who should be refinancing while rates are so low and she’s sending them Mark’s contact info. “You can even publish my phone number here so I can tell your Members directly how pleased I am with the service I received from Mark and AMS.”
Of course, we wouldn’t do that, but we do certainly appreciate Mary’s willingness to share her story and we’re happy we could help her finally make use of a benefit she’s deserved.
We’re Here to Help
Our Military Mortgage Advisors, who are licensed Mortgage Loan Originators, can provide you with an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of low-rate and low-cost mortgages designed to meet your needs. If you’re not certain about whether or not it’s the right time for you to purchase a home, or refinance an existing mortgage, please contact AMS online today or give us a call at (877) 387-6856.
Ensuring existing and prospective AAFMAA Members obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today!