► On Feb. 3rd the Mortgage News Daily posted a blog by "The Voice of Housing: Reverse Mortgages: Friend or Foe? Definitely Friend" … to get those of you who dismiss the reverse mortgage program as too risky for the FHA and taking advantage of the elderly, to get a grip and look at this wonderful program as a means to provide our growing (aging) population a better quality of life while maintaining our independence and self respect. For more information, on this blog, click here. ► On Feb. 2nd Reverse Mortgage Daily posted: FHA to Increase MIP and Cut Principal Limit for Reverse Mortgage Product ... Secretary Donovan told a group of attendees at the Brooke-Mondale Auditorium at HUD’s headquarters that it would increase the ongoing annual Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) from 0.5 percent to 1.25 percent and a low-to-mid single digit cut in the principal loan limits. Donovan added that there would be long-term reforms in the reverse mortgage program down the line. ► On Feb. 2nd Reverse Review posted: How Reverse Mortgages Can Prevent Financial Exploitation of the Elderly … in the face of the potential for abuse and financial exploitation by trusted caretakers and unscrupulous financial predators, reverse mortgages offer elderly individuals the promise of financial security while maintaining their independence. By reducing reliance on adult children and other caregivers, as well as providing a source of income that may diminish the allure of financial schemes, reverse mortgages diminish the potential for abuse and exploitation. ► On Feb. 1st Reverse Mortgage Daily posted: White House Requests $250 Million Credit Subsidy for Reverse Mortgage Program … along with a contingency appropriation to meet all program demand, even if demand exceeds projections. The subsidy request is lower than the previous $789 million requested in the 2010 budget. ► On Feb. 1st Reverse Review posted: Florida Approves First Educator of Realtors for the Purchase Reverse Mortgage Program … “Diminishing portfolio values, record low rates of return and decreasing property values have hurt seniors’ ability to qualify for mortgages more than ever before…The Purchase HECM Program is the answer and the company that educates the 140,000 Realtors in the state of Florida will in fact flourish, even in these tough times. ► Alliance Credit Counseling released Reverse Mortgage Counseling Locator to assist both lenders and borrowers in finding approved counseling agencies. Enter a zip code and the website will provide a list of 10 HUD-approved HECM counselors (five local, five national) along with directions to the locations and shows what type of counseling is available: in person, by phone, or by webinar. The service allows lenders to print or email counseling lists to prospective borrowers, along with the NCOA’s “Use Your Home to Stay at Home” and HUD’s “Preparing for Your Counseling Session” letter. In addition, lenders have the ability to track which loan officers have sent out counseling materials to specific borrowers. Potential borrowers can save $10-$15 on their counseling session by filling out the budget worksheet or completing their budgets online. ► On Jan. 29th Reverse Review posted: RESPA, GFE, and the Reverse Mortgage: An Opinion Piece by John Smaldone … John states that we need to ask for a repeal of some of the provisions in the new RESPA and GFE changes. We also must have the HVCC appraisal ruling going into effect on the 15th of February reconsidered by HUD. As far as our government coming down so hard on the small banks and lenders, we need to speak out as Americans. We need to write our congressmen and senators, let them know we want our community banks and small lenders to remain in our society. ► On Jan. 27th Reverse Mortgage Alert posted: Reverse Mortgage Lenders Sanctioned in Latest FHA Enforcement Action …While most of the FHA's recent enforcement actions against these companies don't directly involve its home equity conversion mortgage program, there have been a few HECM-related situations. The most direct case was the six-month probation of Cooper and Shein, doing business as Great Oak Lending Partners in Timonium, Md. The company sent direct mail ads that included a facsimile of the HUD logo, suggesting that HECMs were a government benefit. The mailers also included a non-functional Washington, D.C., address which gave the "look" of a government office that "we found troublesome," said HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan. ► On Jan. 26th The Reverse Review posted : Will the Reverse Mortgage Industry Soon See a New England NRMLA? While the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association has been successful at representing the interests of brokers at the federal level, as the industry has grown many in Massachusetts felt a local voice was needed to speak out on state and local regulations, George Downey said. At a meeting last May attended by 60 local reverse mortgage professionals, the idea of a local chapter of NRMLA was proposed. “Legislators have no idea what [reverse mortgages] are about,” said Downey. “We certainly want to be organized so that we’re in a position to either propose legislation that we may feel is appropriate, or so that we can argue against legislation that we may feel would harm." Among potential legislative initiatives, Downey said, would be the creation of a separate license for reverse mortgage professionals, due to the unique training involved to properly educate seniors about their options. ► On Jan 23rd The Washington Post posted: Reverse Mortgages Are Not the Next Sub-Prime …an article by professor of finance emeritus Jack Guttentag states that while all is well for almost all HECM borrowers, some of their advocates in consumer organizations, alarmed by the program's growth, are bad-mouthing it. In its September issue of Consumer Reports magazine, Consumers Union warned: "The Next Financial Fiasco? It Could Be Reverse Mortgages." In an October monograph by Tara Twomey of the National Consumer Law Center titled "Subprime Revisited: How Reverse Mortgage Lenders Put Older Homeowners' Equity at Risk." …the current state of the HECM market has no resemblance whatsoever to the conditions in the subprime market that led to disaster. ► On Jan. 21st Reverse Mortgage Daily posted: NMLS Website Hopes to Bring Greater Transparency to Mortgage Industry … Developed for consumers, the searchable website will allow the public to view information concerning state-licensed companies, branches, and individuals registered with NMLS. ► On Jan. 8th Mortgage News Daily posted: Impact of the Economic Crisis on the HECM Program …The housing bubble burst has significantly impacted the value of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's guarantee on home equity conversion mortgages for loans issued as far back as 1989. 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.