COLUMBIA — A fast-growing nationwide company that provides home loans to veterans and active members of the military plans to expand and add 300 new jobs in Columbia over the next five years.
VA Mortgage Center.com, which has its corporate office at 2101 Chapel Hill Plaza, made the plans public during a Thursday news conference. To help make the jobs possible, it will tap into three state incentive programs for a total package worth $6.1 million. Those include the Missouri Quality Jobs Program, a new work force training program and a recruitment and referral program.
The mortgage center will add the jobs gradually between now and the end of 2016.
VA Mortgage Center.com helps veterans and other members of the military take advantage of loans offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans receive an earned benefit that allows them to buy a house with no down payment, Brian Butcher, brand manager for the center, said.
VA Mortgage Center.com was founded in 2002 and has helped more than 500,000 people across the country receive loans. Those loans amount to around $1 billion in the past year, Butcher said.
Butcher said the company is happy to expand here. "We love the area, and it feels good to be a part of something like this that is supporting Columbia so much," he said.
August Nielsen, human resources manager at VA Mortgage Center.com, said the center's employees' dedication has helped them serve customers effectively and to grow.
In the past year, VA Mortgage Center.com has added more than 145 employees nationwide. Twenty new employees were trained nationwide last Wednesday. Nielsen said that is a company record
Nielsen said the 300 new jobs in Columbia will include loan processors, loan officers and credit consultants, among others. He also said the positions will primarily be filled by Columbia and mid-Missouri residents. Applicants can apply online at vamortgagecenter.com/career.
Gov. Jay Nixon also attended Thursday's news conference. He noted that the mortgage center will be required to pay at or above the county average wage for each of the new jobs created. He also said the announcement was a sign of progress in the state.
"Because of our hard work and fiscal momentum, it's clear that Missouri is heading in the right direction," Nixon said.
Nixon commended VA Mortgage Center.com and its staff on its contributions to veterans and its commitment to the growth of Columbia.
"The more (jobs) that we add outside of Missouri, the more we add here for support," Nielsen said. "We're becoming part of the community and trying to add positive things."