NRMLA Celebrates Reverse Mortgage Education Week To help raise public awareness about the versatility of reverse mortgages and how they have helped more than 1 million homeowners age in place, NRMLA hosted six webinars during the week of April 24 for Reverse Mortgage Education Week. NRMLA organized events with the American Society on Aging and Mortgage Bankers Association, while NRMLA members generated a buzz for the events within their own professional networks of in-home care providers, real estate agents, financial planners and others who work with older adults.

During a live web interview on April 25, Next Avenue Managing Editor Richard Eisenberg posed reader questions to NRMLA leaders and industry experts who have earned the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) designation.

Next Avenue, which has served more than 40 million people on its site and millions more through other platforms and partnerships, invited its readers and social media followers to submit questions ahead of time on their site. You can find more information about these events and how to watch them on nrmlaonline.org.

Home Equity Grows by $170.7 Billion Home equity levels for homeowners aged 62 and older increased by 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $170.7 billion, boosting their total housing wealth to $6.2 trillion.

The growth in home equity, coupled with a 2.4 percent increase in home values for the same age group, drove the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index to a new all-time high of 221.75. The RMMI is a quarterly measure that analyzes trends in home values, home equity and mortgage debt held by homeowners aged 62 and older dating back to 2000.

NRMLA Partners with LexisNexis A partnership agreement was formally announced between NRMLA and LexisNexis at the Eastern Regional Meeting in New York on April 3 that entitles member companies to a discounted enrollment to the Mortgage Industry Data Exchange. Nick Larson, manager of market planning for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, called the MIDEX system “the mortgage industry’s Better Business Bureau.”

NRMLA’s Executive Vice President Steve Irwin encouraged members to subscribe to MIDEX and use it to report fraudulent and misrepresentative practices in the reverse mortgage space. “This arrangement will help bring MIDEX benefits to our industry and add to the range of remedies available to NRMLA through active enforcement of its Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility,” said Irwin. NRMLA members who have questions about the MIDEX subscription discount can contact Darryl Hicks at dhicks@dworbell.com for more information.

Helping Clients Who Are in Default HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling provided NRMLA with a list of housing counseling organizations that have been specially trained to provide default counseling services:

  • Greenpath, 888.860.4167
  • Money Management International, 866.765.3328
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 866.363.2227
  • NeighborWorks America, 888.990.4326
  • Housing Option Provided for the Elderly, 773.262.7801
The next time one of your past clients calls you in need of assistance because their loan is in technical default for non-payment of property taxes or insurance, please refer them to this list.

Helping Delinquent HECM Borrowers in IL and CA The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) launched the Reverse Mortgage Assistance Program in April to help HECM borrowers in the Prairie State who are in technical default for not paying their property taxes and homeowners insurance policies.

The IHDA offers up to $35,000 to reinstate a homeowner’s delinquent property expenses and pay future taxes and insurance for up to two years. The IHDA issued a press release that explained the eligibility requirements and provided a list of counseling agencies for homeowners to contact if they are interested in getting more information.

Meanwhile in California, the HOPE NOW Alliance and ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions are co-sponsoring a free educational seminar in the City of Compton on April 27.

The seminar is the second in a series that will be held in California throughout 2017 by HOPE NOW and ClearPoint. Reverse mortgage borrowers who are in technical default and need assistance, or who have questions about their loans, can speak directly with HUD-approved HECM counselors. For more information to share with your clients, visit ihda.org, and hope.com.

NRMLA Explains Home Equity in Advance of Financial Literacy Month To help commemorate Financial Literacy Month in April, NRMLA released “An Introduction to Housing Wealth: What is home equity and how can it be used?" It’s a three-part article that explains home equity and its uses, methods for tapping it, and the special home equity options available for homeowners aged 62 and older.

"Financial Literacy Month is an opportunity for consumers of all ages to evaluate and elevate their understanding of the concepts essential for responsible money management, such as savings, credit, interest and debt," said NRMLA President and CEO Peter Bell. "From planning a household budget to developing a comprehensive retirement funding strategy, financial literacy is crucial to our ability to plan for the future.”

The article and accompanying infographic can be downloaded from NRMLA's consumer education website reversemortgage.org. Members are encouraged to share this information with clients and their family members.

Draft HECM Handbook Soon to be Published While addressing NRMLA’s Eastern Regional Meeting in New York on April 3, FHA officials said they hope to publish a draft copy of the new HECM Handbook by the second or third quarter of 2017, at which time members and other industry participants will be invited to submit feedback. Assuming there are no delays, a final version of the HECM Handbook will be published later this fall. Existing HECM regulations contained in Handbook 4235.1, along with new program changes contained in the recently published final rule, are being transitioned to FHA’s Single Family Handbook 4000.1.

 

FHA Monitoring Refi Activity FHA continues to monitor refinance activity, which has steadily increased from 2.6 percent of all originations in 2012 to 11 percent in 2016, and 12.9 percent so far in 2017. “We continue to have concerns about churning, whether the refinance provides a meaningful benefit to the borrower, and the quality of appraisals,” said FHA Senior Policy Advisor Karin Hill, while speaking at the Eastern Regional Meeting. As a reminder, in October 2015, NRMLA published Ethics Advisory 2015-2, which includes requirements for ethical refinancing of HECM reverse mortgage loans and anti-churning considerations.

FHA's Loan Review System to Go Live on May 15 FHA announced in Mortgagee Letter 2017-08 that the implementation date for its Loan Review System will be May 15, 2017. LRS will be used to manage Title II Single Family Loan Reviews, Title II Single Family Mortgagee Monitoring Reviews, and Mortgagee self-reporting of fraud, misrepresentation and other material findings. The HECM statute, section 255 of the National Housing Act (codified at 12 USC 1715z-20), falls within Title II. FHA has conducted webinars and created a landing page on the hud.gov website for people who want more information.

Building Acceptance of Reverse Mortgages Improving reverse mortgage financial literacy, reducing borrowing costs and expanding product options are among a list of recommendations put forth by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute to help ease barriers to home equity extraction in a new study titled “What’s stopping seniors from accessing the wealth stored in their home equity?”

“Seniors are sitting on a mountain of housing wealth. Homeowners ages 65 and older could access more than $3 trillion in extractable primary residence home equity, but only six percent of senior homeowners are interested in tapping into their home equity to help meet retirement financial needs,” according to the study’s authors, Karan Kaul and Laurie Goodman, who discussed some of her initial findings at NRMLA’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Chicago. “At the same time, nearly 37 percent of senior homeowners are concerned about their financial situation in retirement.”

Aversion to debt and continued improvements to health and medicine are allowing more seniors to work and earn well into old age, reducing the need to depend on home equity extraction, the authors added. To help reverse the trend, the Urban Institute proposed improving reverse mortgage financial literacy by introducing the product to people at a younger age.

 Congratulations Barbara McIntyre NRMLA congratulates Barbara McIntyre, a reverse mortgage loan originator with Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC, based in Melbourne, Florida, for earning her CRMP.

McIntyre has originated reverse mortgages exclusively since 2007 when she joined Bank of America. She worked for Wells Fargo, FirstBank and Security 1 Lending before joining RMF two years ago.