The Biggest Reverse Mortgage News of 2012

As we look back on 2012, there has been no shortage of reverse mortgage change. From lender exits to forthcoming program change announced by the Federal Housing Administration, lenders have come, gone, and stuck around.

Here are the top-10 most popular stories that drove reverse mortgage news this year. 

1. MetLife closed its reverse mortgage doors – April 26 – MetLife Shuts Down Reverse Mortgage Business. After becoming the largest reverse mortgage lender, MetLife executives said the business channel no longer aligned with the bank’s core businesses. 

2. Ocwen announced it would acquire Genworth’s reverse mortgage business – October 31 – Ocwen Acquires Genworth Reverse Mortgage Division for $22 Million. Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN) announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Genworth Financial Home Equity Access (GFHEA) for $22 million in cash. The company said the deal will complement its existing mortgage related businesses.

3. New York Life hinted at reverse mortgage operations – January 5 – New York Life Making Move Into Reverse Mortgages. Though the plans never came to fruition, it looked like New York Life was getting into the business in early 2012. Several of its employees have since spun off into a freestanding reverse mortgage company, Longbridge Financial. 

4. AMCs prepared for appraisal fees to rise – October 30 – AMCs: Prepare for Appraisal System to Change, Fees to Rise. Changes across the appraisal industry including a declining supply of appraisers in the market stand to put pressure on this segment of the mortgage process. Those in the industry said something has to give. 

5. FHA said it would consider a fixed rate HECM moratorium – December 18 – FHA Willing to Suspend Fixed Rate Standard Reverse Mortgage Product. In an aim to rebalance the product mix in the market, HUD said it would consider program changes to improve HECM loans. 

6.  First National Bank left the reverse business – June 18 – First National Bank Rises to Top-10, Then Quits Reverse Mortgage Business. The company had recently risen to become a Top-10 lender. The majority of its staff and operations later moved to Proficio Mortgage. 

7. FHA announced lower forward mortgage premiums for some loans – March 6 – Lower FHA Premiums Coming in June 2012, Reverse Mortgages Not Included. The Federal Housing Administration announced the details of its efforts to lower the costs of refinancing for borrowers with loans insured by the agency.  

8. Data showed four reverse mortgage lenders were doubling their business in 2012 – June 12 – Four Top-10 Reverse Mortgage Lenders Double Business in 2012. Four of the top six reverse mortgage lenders grew year-to-date volume by 100% or more, with some seeing a near 150% increase in volume this year. 

9. MetLife failed to sell its forward mortgage business and opted to wind it down – January 10 – MetLife Fails to Sell Forward Mortgage Business, Reverse Remains. MetLife (NYSE: MET) announced that it had decided to wind down all of MetLife Home Loans’ forward origination business and had stopped accepting applications as of 5 pm today. 

10. More details came out about MetLife’s exit from the business. – June 11 –  Why MetLife Really Left the Reverse Mortgage Business—Dollars Versus Dimes? When MetLife decided to exit the reverse mortgage business in April, it sent the industry reeling—albeit temporarily—as the third in a series of large corporate lenders to quit offering Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.

Editor’s note: The top stories list is based on traffic data received on Reverse Mortgage Daily content compiled beginning on January 1, 2012. 

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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