An overview of reverse mortgages first published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and picked up by a number of other news outlets follows a recent common thread of making sweeping statements of the HECM program without sufficient substantiation.


The tone is set with the headline, "Reverse Mortgage a Tricky Way to Pull Money from Home," which serves as a value judgment of the program.  The article urges caution with reverse mortgages because they are actual loans that must be repaid in full.

Most of the overview is fairly standard basic explanation of the program as typically reported, but several statements seem declarative without appropriate further support.  Explaining that only a small percentage of the millions of mortgages completed in the last twenty years have been reverse mortgages, the article states the reason as being, "because reverse mortgages can be complicated, sometimes pricey affairs compared with the financial alternatives.  This is an often repeated refrain that is rarely complemented with support for this conclusion.

It problematic to assume that a forward mortgage or equity line would be less expensive and/or complicated without at least a minimal comparative analysis of the benefits and features of the products.

At the end of the piece, the article states, "Reverse-mortgage foreclosures have been rare _ until recently."  This conclusion to the article is troublesome not only for is fear raising capacity, but also for the fact that it cannot be substantiated.  The reason, the article states through a quote, is due to the fact that borrowers are responsible for paying taxes, insurance, and upkeep.  The tough economic times, have made this a challenge for a lot of people. 

Of course, the article fails to mention that this responsibility exists for all homeowners, regardless of the type of mortgage they may have.