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

On the Docket
Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013 Introduced
In this column last month, we reported on NRMLA’s effort, with the support of our Capitol Hill lobbying team, to pursue legislative authority for HUD so that the department can make the changes to the HECM program needed to bolster the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.

On May 23, H.R. 2167, a bill with bipartisan sponsorship “to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to establish additional requirements to improve the fiscal safety and soundness of the home equity conversion mortgage insurance program,” was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

The introduction followed a hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance on May 16, at which the two congressmen announced the proposed legislation and emphasized the importance of providing HUD the leeway to act prior to the end of fiscal year 2013 (September 30). HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Charles Coulter, who testified at the hearing, concurred. To meet this September 30 goal, we hope the bill can be considered promptly on the House of Representatives “Suspension Calendar.”

Legislation slated for the Suspension Calendar is considered under special rules and is primarily reserved for noncontroversial bills. Under the procedure, with two-thirds of the votes of all voting members, the House rules are suspended and the legislation is passed.

Texas H4P Resolution Clears Legislation Hurdle
The Texas House of Representatives approved legislation that will allow registered voters to decide on November 5 whether the state constitution should be amended to allow HECM for Purchase loans.

The legislature voted 139 to 1 in favor of Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 18, which only a few weeks before unanimously passed in the Senate.

“This was a critical piece of legislation for homeowners in Texas,” says Scott Norman of Sente Reverse Mortgage, who serves on NRMLA’s Board of Directors and has played an instrumental role in getting SJR 18 introduced

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and passed. “Today’s vote by the House was clearly supportive of reverse mortgage lending and the goal to provide enhanced consumer disclosures for all borrowers.”

In the States
New Hampshire Legislation Addresses LO Compensation
A New Hampshire bill amending the state’s general consumer laws, which strikes out a phrase prohibiting yield-spread premiums on a reverse mortgage transaction (NH HB 594), has passed in the state house and is now in the state senate. The amendment replaces the prohibition with: “In a reverse mortgage transaction, any credit derived from offering an interest rate higher than the par rate shall only be paid to the borrower or used to pay the borrower’s costs, and shall not be used as an additional source of compensation.”

This might not be the total solution, however. “This proposed provision is problematic,” says NRMLA counsel Jim Milano of Weiner Brodsky Kider, “because it does not define what the par rate might be.”

The New Hampshire legislature is scheduled to adjourn on June 28. The state Senate has hundreds of bills to tackle and this one may or may not make it to the floor.

NRMLA Ethics Course Revisited in Discussion
New Branding Effort
Over the past few months, under the leadership of Otto Kumbar of Liberty Home Equity Solutions, a group of member companies has been exploring a new national branding effort for reverse mortgages.

At NRMLA’s Western Regional Meeting in Irvine in May, Mary Smith, marketing director at Liberty, reported that we initially engaged 12 advertising agencies of various sizes from around the country to assess the market and offer recommendations for a fresh campaign. Eight of the 12 companies submitted proposals and a review team has narrowed the list down to four finalists. During the session, audience members were invited to comment on some of the observations made by the advertising agencies, which sparked some animated discussions. For example, the ad agencies observed that “we try too hard to sell” and “we have created buyer’s paralysis.” In other words, our explanations are too complicated and our message needs to be simplified.

Final presentations, including creative marketing samples, are due to be delivered at the end of June.

A Big Gathering in the Big Easy
We’re starting to plan the events for NRMLA’s Annual Meeting & Expo, our 15th annual event and the largest single gathering of reverse mortgage professionals each year.

Due to your enthusiastic response two years ago, we’re heading back to the Roosevelt Hotel on the edge of New Orleans French Quarter on November 4 to 6.

If there are topics you would like to see included in the agenda, please let us know by contacting Darryl Hicks at dhicks@dworbell.com.