Senior Groups: Congresswoman’s Reverse Mortgage Statements “Unfair and Wrong”

The Coalition for Independent Seniors and RetireSafe issued a joint statement today in response to comments by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) made in a House hearing last week which indicated an increase in reverse mortgages has led to more bankruptcies for the 55-plus population.

In her comments, Rep. Velazquez said lenders have been targeting the equity in seniors’ homes with reverse mortgages.

“Over the last decade the number of reverse mortgages has increased more than 1,300%. Unfortunately, this prolific increase of reverse mortgages has resulted in 61% more bankruptcies by Americans over 55,” Rep. Velazquez said.

“Rep. Velazquez is misinformed,” CIS said in a written statement. “The study she referenced dealt with bankruptcies with a reference to the connection of foreclosures to a person’s economic problems. The report did cite directly the problems of sub-prime loans among other possible causes for the age increase in bankruptcies but made no reference or inference that reverse mortgages had anything to do with the increase. Making the jump to blaming reverse mortgages for a perceived problem with the financial wellbeing of older Americans is not only incorrect but is disingenuous.”

The senior advocacy groups noted that reverse mortgages provide a benefit to older Americans and that Rep. Velazquez’s comments were unfair.

“It is unfair and wrong for Rep. Velazquez’ to use misinformation as the basis to limit the choices of this ‘greatest generation.’ Older Americans deserve the benefits of a reverse mortgage as they seek to age in place and stay in their house. Rep. Velazquez shouldn’t be misrepresenting her constituents in this way.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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