Subscribe to the print edition of National Mortgage Professional MagazineSubscribe to our RSS feedFollow us on TwitterGet daily updates via emailJoin us on Facebook

Congress and Advocates for Seniors Agree on Value of Reverse Mortgages


At a time when consensus is hard to find in Washington, members of Congress, advocates for senior citizens, and representatives of financial services companies all agreed that reverse mortgages are an important tool in providing a better life for seniors, during a hearing conducted by the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity titled, "“Oversight of the Federal Housing Administration’s Reverse Mortgage Program for Seniors."

“HECM [The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program] has been a useful tool, helping hundreds of thousands of seniors maintain their homes and lead more financially stable lives,” said Peter Bell, president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) in his testimony. “The program has been administered thoughtfully, carefully and responsibly by a partnership of stakeholders. This has allowed the reverse mortgage concept to gain a foothold and prove the value of this important personal financial management tool as a component of retirement finance and funding longevity.”

Joining Bell is testifying before the hearing was:

►Charles Coulter, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Programs, Office of Housing, Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
►Daniel Fenton, Housing Director, Money Management International
►Jeffrey M. Lewis, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Generation Mortgage Company
►Dr. Anthony Sanders, Distinguished Professor of Real Estate Finance, Senior Scholar, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
►Houman Shadab, Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School
►Dr. Barbara R. Stucki, Vice President, Home Equity Initiatives, National Council on Aging
►Dr. Lori A. Trawinski, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, Consumer and State Affairs Team, AARP Public Policy Institute

“The HECM is an example of the best kind of government program,” said Lewis. “A program that utilizes the reach and financial heft of the government to leverage private sector involvement, pays for itself, is run largely by the private sector and provides a life-transforming financial product to consumers.”

Additionally, each member of Congress who spoke at the hearing began his or her statement by recognizing the value of reverse mortgages to senior citizens. Together, the industry participants seemed to share a sense of pride about the success of the program—780,00 loans, to date—and the frequent readjustments that have been made over the program’s 20-year history to improve it and protect if financially. However, changes can be made to improve the program and make this resource more accessible for a greater number of seniors. Almost every speaker referenced the need to adjust the limit on the number of HECM loans the FHA is authorized to insure.

“Although the cap has been routinely raised or suspended, its existence deters some industry participants,” Bell said during his testimony. “NRMLA urges this Subcommittee to support permanently removing the authorization cap to minimize any possible disruption of HECM.”

Do you need to stay on top of mortgage industry news and trends?

We can HELP! We will send you a daily email with the latest headlines with free access to the full articles. And NO, we will not Spam you, sell your email address or otherwise abuse the trust you have by giving us when you provide us with your email. Sign up here to get on our list.

The Staff at National Mortgage Professional Magazine

he hottest mortgage industry headlines, featured articles and others mission critical mortgage industry stories delivered to my email inbox each day. 

My email address is . I am located in the state of  (state you are located).