A look back at 2018’s HECM highlights

Recapping the major reverse mortgage news of the year

It’s been a tumultuous year for the reverse mortgage industry, but that’s really nothing new for those who make their living in this line of work.

No stranger to change, the HECM space witnessed a good amount of action this year as new leaders and new products emerged, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued yet another round of program changes, and volume fell…and then fell again.

We’ve compiled a rundown of this year’s HECM highlights to give you a review of all that’s happened in the reverse mortgage space in 2018:


Reverse Market Insight reveals that endorsements rose 32.5% to their highest total since 2011 as the industry saw the last of the pre-October 2nd loans move through the pipeline.  


The Funding Longevity Task Force and the Bipartisan Policy Center host the first-ever Housing Wealth in Retirement Symposium in Washington, D.C., where economists and policy experts gathered to discuss home equity’s increasingly important role in retirement security. The consensus? Reverse mortgages deserve a second look.

RMI data shows volume dropped 17.3% as the effects of the October 2nd changes take hold.


Mutual of Omaha Bank announces that it will be expanding into reverse mortgages with the acquisition of Synergy One Lending.

Reverse Mortgage Funding launches its first proprietary reverse mortgage, the Equity Edge, breaking new ground by offering the product to borrowers as young as 60.

Brian Montgomery’s nomination to return as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration is finally approved by a strong vote in the Senate.


Finance of America Reverse introduces a new iteration of its HomeSafe reverse mortgage, the Flex, which will allow borrowers to withdraw 60% of the proceeds upfront and get the remaining 40% in term payments for as long as five years.


Leading reverse mortgage lender American Advisors Group announces a major rebrand as a “holistic provider of retirement solutions,” with spokesperson Tom Selleck now promising to help Americans “retire better.”


Quicken Loans subsidiary One Reverse Mortgage hops on the proprietary bandwagon, announcing the rollout of the Home Equity Loan Optimizer, or HELO, which promises less restrictive property and transaction requirements than the HECM.

LongBridge Financial follows suit with the release of its Platinum reverse mortgage, a fixed-rate, full-draw loan that promises access to equity at a low rate.


FAR is back at it with another iteration of its proprietary offering, announcing the HomeSafe Second, the first-ever second-lien reverse mortgage that allows borrowers to tap their equity with a reverse and retain their first mortgage.


The FHA announces that it will now require a second appraisal on select HECM loans. Montgomery tells reporters an analysis revealed inflated valuations on 37% of HECM loans, and that a collateral risk assessment would be used to combat the issue.

FAR releases yet another HomeSafe loan, announcing the only proprietary reverse mortgage HELOC on the market, giving borrowers 25% of the proceeds upfront with the rest available in a growing line of credit.


The FHA releases its much-anticipated 2018 Report to Congress, and the results are less than rosy for the HECM, showing its continued drain to the tune of $13.63 billion. Montgomery reaffirms the agency’s commitment to the program, but hints that more changes are likely to come.

After small signs of uneven recovery, HECM volume falls 17.4%, achieving a low the industry hasn’t seen for 14 years, according to RMI.


The FHA raises loan limits for reverse mortgage loans in 2019 from $675,650 to $726,525, a move many in the industry agreed was helpful, but not too impactful.

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