► The Wall Street Journal posted on Aug. 27: Mortgage Fraud: A Classic Crime's Latest Twists: As 'Reverse' Loans Grow More Popular, Scams Put Older Adults at Risk ... In the wake of the mortgage meltdown, regulators and law-enforcement officials are sounding alarms about the potential for yet another type of mortgage fraud—this time, in the small but fast-growing reverse-mortgage market. Link to article can be found here.
► NRMLA online posted on Aug. 20: Verbal Ceasefire: A Call for a Change in the Conversation About Reverse Mortgages ... Isn’t it time for everyone who has a hand in the future of reverse mortgages—senators, House representatives, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office, as well as non-governmental organizations such as AARP, the National Council on Aging and NRMLA—to come together quietly and work in harmony on a single comprehensive program that will best serve the needs of our seniors?
► ReverseMortgageDaily posting on Aug. 31st: FHA Insured Reverse Mortgages Without the SFSA, A Growing Trend? ... an Alexandria, Va.-based credit union is offering customers their PenFed Advantage program which provides an FHA-insured HECM without any origination fee or service fee set aside (SFSA) ... is PenFed building the servicing costs into the margin? Probably not considering their margin is 2.5 percent, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen a credit union take a hit on fees for its customers.
► Another ReverseMortgageDaily posting on Aug. 27th: $798 Million Subsidy: Time to Change the FHA Insured Reverse Mortgage Program? … The knee-jerk reaction from most is to cut the principal limit to ensure that no subsidy is needed for the government insured reverse mortgage product. The House has already passed its version of the Appropriations Bill which requires that HUD adjust the program to operate at a net zero subsidy rate. The Senate’s current version also includes provisions which would lower the principal limits. At a time when many seniors find their home values down drastically, it will clearly limit the amount of people who could benefit from the program. According to an analysis of three major lenders’ portfolios by NRMLA, nearly 21 percent of current borrowers would have come up with too little cash from the reverse mortgage to pay off their existing indebtedness if principal limits are reduced by 10 percent.
► Another ReverseMortgageDaily posting on Aug. 26: OIG: Bank of America Reverse Mortgage Servicing Operation Out of Compliance …The Office of the Inspector General for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) reviewed Bank of America’s home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) servicing division in Seattle, Washington and found that the servicer…did not maintain annual certifications of residency and did not notify HUD in a timely manner of the due and payable status of the mortgages of deceased borrowers. The OIG says that both weaknesses could result in the properties remaining vacant longer, increased property deterioration, the need for additional maintenance, and potential decline in property value. Bank of America respectfully disagrees with several of the OIG’s findings.
► A MortgageOrb posting on Aug. 18: John LaRose And The Challenges Facing Reverse Mortgages …“We are still seeing steady growth across the country. [But] I don't think the industry is where it would like to be at this point and time, but the continuation of declining home values has had a significant impact on new loan production. In my opinion, the two most significant issues facing the industry today are that we have only one investor, Fannie Mae, and the growing issue of tax and insurance defaults. With these two remaining issues unresolved, we are facing an uncertain future and that's what keeps me up at night..” said LaRose, CEO of Lansing, Mich.-based Celink, an independent subservicer of reverse mortgages.
► New View Commentary posted on Aug. 7th: The Trouble with HECMs: Part III …New View Advisors, a reverse mortgage advisory firm, advocates a HECM II loan that would eliminate the Federal Housing Administration's up-front mortgage insurance premium and charge a higher annual premium on the loan balance, as well as other structural changes. Check out parts I and II, as well.
► The San Jose Mercury News post on Aug. 20: Reverse Mortgages Shift Gears …a well-balanced article about a couple who used the HECM for purchase program to buy a condominium in San Francisco. The article gives a lot of information about the limitations, the requirements, and gives a specific reverse mortgage for home purchase loan example.
A former AARP-certified reverse mortgage counselor with five years of experience, Jean Ross is now a mortgage planner with AdvisorNet Mortgage LLC. Jean specializes in reverse mortgages, and is most interested in getting accurate and useful information on reverse mortgage to seniors, their families and professionals who work with them.