Written by Marty Bell, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

On the Docket Just when we thought it was the time of year to finish the books and turn our full attention to family for the holidays, mayhem broke out in Washington and, as a result, in the press.

At a Senate hearing addressing the 2012 audit of the HUD Mortgage Mutual Insurance (MMI) fund showing a $2.79 billion shortfall, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) suggested a two-year moratorium on the HECM program for the fund to recover. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan responded that there were more effective ways to ensure the fund remains net neutral, as required by law.

On Saturday, December 17, the Wall Street Journal published a harsh editorial stating that “the government has no business subsidizing senior homeowners so they can blow through their life savings before they die.” The piece also reiterated Corker’s moratorium idea.

At that point we swung into action, sticking by our approach that you can accomplish the most by focusing on a narrow group and going to see the right person at the right time, usually the committee chair or their staff that will influence decisions.

By Monday morning, NRMLA staff and our political consulting team were meeting with Corker’s staff, attempting to persuade them that getting HUD the legislative authority to make changes proposed by Donovan would take care of the fund. That afternoon we were on the other side of the aisle, in the office of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), asking for the assistance HUD was seeking.

On the same day, we submitted a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, arguing that its editorial was misguided. (We await word of publication.) We also spoke with the producer of a segment on World News With Diane Sawyer that criticized reverse mortgages and requested more balanced coverage.

We seemed to be on a good path here. That is, until Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante sent a letter to Sen. Corker stating that HUD would be moving expeditiously to make reforms that included “a cessation of the use of the standard fixed-rate HECM product,” but would not implement a moratorium on the entire HECM program. The result may not be the first choice for many of us. We understand there will be concern among members about the impact of this action on consumer demand for HECMs. But, for the moment, the threat of moratorium is off the table and instead the focus is on stabilizing the program’s future.

Where Can You Get Your CRMP Continuing Education Credits? Continuing Education is the core of the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional program. It’s your signal to borrowers you are a dedicated reverse mortgage professional intent on staying current as the world and the business change.

Though we offer CE credits at every conference, you don’t have to be dependent upon NRMLA to meet your annual 12-credit requirement. The following courses have all been approved for credit. (You can also submit another course you have taken for approval.)

Generation Mortgage Company Reverse Mortgage 101 (1 credit) Reverse Mortgage 201 (1 credit) Reverse Mortgage Products (1 credit) Contact: Dan Hultquist dan.hultquist@generationmortgage.com

Liberty Home Equity Solutions Understanding Financial Advisors (1 credit) Contact: Jud Lyman judson.lyman@libertyhomeequity.com

  Tradition Title Agency, Inc. (Credits are only available to loan originators licensed in New York.) Power of Attorney and Life Estate Basics for the Reverse Mortgage Transaction (1 credit) Trust Basics for the Reverse Mortgage Transaction (1 credit) Understanding a Title Report (1 credit) Contact: Karen Keating kkeating@traditionta.com

Premier Reverse Closings Trusts, POAs, Conservatorships and Life Estates (1 credit) Contact: Alissa Scott-Prieto aprieto@prclosings.com

Reverse Focus Reverse Basics (2 credits) Contact: Shannon Hicks shannon@reversefortunes.com

Security One Lending HECM for Purchase (1 credit) Reverse Mortgage Fundamentals (1 credit) HECM to HECM Refinances (1 credit) Assessing the Needs of Your Borrower (1 credit) Contact: Craig Barnes cbarnes@s1l.com

Other Professional Designations Pending review and approval, up to three hours of credits taken in pursuit of another designation or license may be submitted toward the CRMP. The three-day certification class that individuals must sit through to obtain the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) designation has been approved for three credits.

In Committees -As a result of thoughtful effort from the Risk & Compliance Committee, NRMLA submitted proposed reverse mortgage disclosures to the CFPB early in December.

-NRMLA coordinated guidance with the Department of Housing Counseling regarding the requirements of the California state bill AB-2010, which takes effect January 1, 2013. The guidance was published on December 19, 2012, and can be found at nrmlaonline.org. It instructs counselors to continue using the current HECM Counseling Certificate (HUD-92902), which verifies whether the session was conducted in person or over the phone. Included with the guidance is an addendum designed by NRMLA that a mortgagee may request from the counselor that will indicate that the client was fully advised of the available counseling options and chose the one indicated on the counseling certificate in accordance with California law. The Counseling Addendum was created to facilitate consistency in the reverse mortgage marketplace.

-On December 13, 2012, NRMLA convened a meeting of members doing business in Massachusetts. The 20 attendees discussed the next steps regarding that state’s face-to-face counseling efforts, the implementation of which is now postponed until August 2014.

-NRMLA’s HUD Issues Committee is starting to draft a document concerned with non-borrowing spouse best practices.

Upcoming Events: The Big Apple and the Big Easy Plans are in place for two of our 2013 events: Eastern Regional Meeting & Finance and Investment Forum Intercontinental New York Times Square Hotel The reverse mortgage industry and Wall Street come together for a look at the future. March 19-20

NRMLA in NOLA Annual Meeting & Expo Roosevelt Hotel November 4-6

We are also planning a Western Regional Conference in Southern California in the spring.  Check back here for details and registration information or visit nrmlaonline.org.