GoVA’s Military Community Outreach: CRA for Bank Partners

The GoVA Foundation is a new non-profit with a creative way to empower the military community through financial education, while helping banks earn consideration for CRA credits for CRA evaluations. GoVA offers scholarships that connect military members with free access to high-quality, certified courses on a broad range of financial literacy topics. Banks can sponsor these scholarships, which supports the military community and helps banks earn consideration for CRA credits. 

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a government initiative encouraging banks to serve all communities in their banking footprint and to donate or make improvements to the Lower-Moderate Income (LMI) areas they serve. In return for community investment and service, banks are evaluated by the regulatory agencies every 3 years. Through this process, banks earn consideration for CRA credits, which are important to a bank’s overall performance evaluation. 

The military is an often-overlooked part of the LMI community. The GoVA Foundation focuses on the military community by offering free scholarships for financial resources to service members, Veterans, and their spouses. When banks sponsor these scholarships, they serve the needs of the military community, while qualifying for CRA consideration. 

Is the U.S. military an LMI community for CRA? 

The military community is diverse, especially when including Veterans and spouses. While 1% of all American adults are currently serving in active-duty military jobs, around 7% of all living Americans served at one point. Including their spouses, the military community comprises 10% of the entire population.  

Not every service member or Veteran will qualify as an LMI category, but large portions of the military community can be defined as LMI either because of their gross household income, or because they live in an LMI census tract. Military families do not get to choose where they are stationed, and military base pay is based on rank, not geographic location. Families sent to a high cost-of-living location will have fewer affordable choices for housing, childcare, groceries, and other essentials.  

Younger enlisted service members, in particular, are likely to qualify as LMI: 

  • 45% of the Enlisted force are age 17- 24 
  • The four lowest paygrades (E-1 to E-4) make up over half of all Enlisted service members 
  • Due to frequent moves and job changes, the unemployment rate for military spouses is 21%, which is 5 times the national average  
  • 25% of military families are considered food insecure, according to the USDA 
  • About 7% of all children who qualify for WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) food vouchers live with someone who served or is serving in the military 
  •  In several test locations, 40% of the military community qualified as LMI 

Clearly, there are large portions of the military community who qualify as LMI and would benefit from additional outreach or community programs. Service members and Veterans live in every state, plus U.S. territories. Thanks to GoVA’s digital membership platform, banks can now serve this portion of the LMI population directly, focusing on those within their CRA evaluation area. 

How GoVA partners with banks to serve LMI military members 

The GoVA Foundation has worked with regulators from the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) to develop a 3-part community outreach program that supports the LMI members of the military community. Banks can support any portion of this program to earn CRA consideration during their evaluations.

1. The Edge: financial literacy for the military community

Designed to equip service members, Veterans, and spouses with essential financial tools, GoVA’s digital membership platform, The Edge, offers free access to a range of financial resources. From credit counseling to budgeting tools and insights into financial products like mortgages, The Edge covers a variety of topics for sound financial decision-making. 

By sponsoring scholarships to The Edge, banks not only contribute to the educational enrichment of military families, but also improve the overall finances of those families, reducing the risk of loan defaults and enhancing the health of bank loan portfolios. For banking partners, supporting scholarships for The Edge translates into nurturing a pool of potential clients well-educated in financial matters.  

Each scholarship costs $300, which provides a military-affiliated member with unlimited access to The Edge for one year, to use all the financial tools and courses available there. 

2. Homeownership Assistance

The GoVA Foundation supports military members navigating the complexities of homeownership. By familiarizing military families with VA Loan benefits and providing personalized guidance through the Concierge Center, GoVA ensures that homeownership is attainable. 

Banks can partner on this initiative by offering closing cost assistance programs tailored for VA Loan applicants in low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities. Directing loan applications to the mortgage department streamlines the process, while alleviating financial burdens for homeowners.

3. Volunteering for Digital Literacy

Banks can empower their communities and earn CRA consideration through volunteer initiatives. GoVA collaborates with numerous non-profits and community partners on projects that support the military community. By engaging bank employees in their area of expertise for financial education or training, banks can earn CRA consideration while reinforcing their commitment to improving the community. 

LMI impact reporting on CRA military programs 

To assist banks with preparing for CRA examinations, GoVA provides quarterly data and reports detailing the project’s impact on LMI individuals.  

GoVA gathers data from scholarship users with a combination of tracking and reporting strategies, including:  

  • Automatic data tracking showing the courses and tools scholarship users engage with on The Edge  
  • Aggregated reports on credit scores, financial stress, and credit card debt  
  • Mandatory sign-up data that captures user address and county for census tract documentation  
  • Personal outreach from the Concierge Center to gather household income and additional metrics as required   

GoVA can provide the following LMI reporting metrics on a quarterly basis:  

  • Number of new members using the scholarships who are part of the LMI community and tied to the military   
  • Total number of users registered for the scholarships through each bank 
  • Scholarship user data about geographic location and census tract  
  • Metrics on member improvements after participating in The Edge platform, such as increased credit scores, decreased financial stress, and reduction of credit card debt  

Additional reporting data can be discussed, based on each bank’s CRA evaluations.   

GoVA Foundation is seeking a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) investments from bank partners to support our Military Community Empowerment Project, providing scholarships for low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals from the military community to access digital financial literacy programs, and Homeowner Assistance Initiatives for LMI applicants seeking a VA Loan.    

The project allows banks to expand their reach and establish a strong presence within the military community, a significant and growing market segment. Supporting financial literacy and homeownership initiatives for military families will enhance a bank’s brand visibility and foster long-term loyalty among military customers, leading to increased customer retention and acquisition.   

To learn more about this program, visit or contact us at

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About Our Partnership with TowneBank Mortgage

At GoVA, we’re proud to partner with a lender that delivers peace of mind to those who have served and continue to serve our county. Together, GoVA and TowneBank Mortgage are committed to helping our military service members achieve their dreams of homeownership, as well as providing them with valuable resources along the way. As experienced lenders, TowneBank Mortgage understands the need for a quick and easy mortgage process, especially during life’s transitional moments. Headquartered in Norfolk, just miles from the world’s largest naval base, TowneBank Mortgage has had the honor of helping thousands of military families through their VA loan offerings. Their team is knowledgeable about VA products and the local market, and in-house operations allow them to respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. Together, we can get you to closing in 30 days or less. Trust TowneBank Mortgage and GoVA loans to get you home.

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