In his wide ranging address to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association’s (NRMLA) Annual Conference in New Orleans, La., Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner David H. Stevens reiterated his dedication to the HECM Standard and HECM Saver reverse mortgage programs, and talked with industry attendees about accountability, transparency and access for the reverse mortgage market.
“Sustainable home ownership [and] sustainable loan programs are something I’ve been very focused on at FHA…We have done everything we could to stem the attacks on the reverse mortgage market…I think that the reverse mortgage program is critically important, and I was very worried that we were going to lose this program,” said Stevens, and “I want to thank Peter [Bell] and the [NRMLA] team who really helped us put the new HECM Saver into the market.”
“Commissioner Stevens is a devoted advocate of the reverse mortgage product as a retirement solution,” said Peter Bell, president of NRMLA, after the address. “We thank him for his leadership and dedication to the program.” NRMLA is a Washington-based trade group that represents most of the major lenders associated with reverse mortgages.
Commissioner Stevens complemented NRMLA and its members for helping to promote responsibility in the industry, and discussed how FHA and the industry participants need to remove bad players.
“Accountability means focusing on the bad players…We are promoting a program that can clearly help seniors who need liquidity,” said Stevens, but “we are dealing with the most fragile universe of buyers in the marketplace…and we need to protect them.”
In his speech, Stevens asked NRMLA members to continue to monitor the industry, and report bad players to the FHA. Numerous changes have occurred with the HECM program in recent months. On Sept. 11, 2010, new counseling protocols went into effect to provide seniors with a more robust counseling procedure that evaluates the product’s appropriateness for borrowers. Reverse mortgages are the only mortgage loan product that requires independent counseling in order to apply for a loan. Additionally, on October 4, 2010, HUD introduced the HECM Saver product that nearly eliminates the up-front insurance fees borrowers pay at loan origination.
“Reverse mortgages are a safe, cost-effective retirement security solution that provide financial certainty and ensure quality of life for older Americans. The industry takes our ethical obligations very seriously, and look forward to continuing to work with the Commissioner to ensure that the consumer financial protections in place provide the necessary safeguards."
For more information, visit www.nrmla.org.