This Week’s Top Reverse Mortgage Stories
1- CFPB Complaints on the Rise- The CFPB has been busy collecting consumer complaints. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports an increase of 172% increase in reverse mortgage-related complaints since 2012. One could guess that much of this is due to increased consumer awareness of whom to report grievances to and how to do so. While the data shows a legitimate spike in HECM-related complaints, questions remain such as differentiating between mere questions and complaints that warrant with 80% not requiring any action. Industry trade groups such as the Mortgage Bankers Association, feel this serves only to mislead the consumers the CFPB is charged with protecting.
2- Stupid? A recent CNBC article said reverse mortgages aren’t for the ’stupid’. CNBC reporter Andrew Osterland opens his column saying “you don’t have to be old, poor, and stupid to get a reverse mortgage’. Perhaps Osterland is implying some ‘stupid’ homeowners fell prey to what he says tarnished the industry’s reputation in the first place- ‘cheesy television ads, unscrupulous brokers, and unwise borrower behavior’. He quotes University Professor and industry advocate Dr John Salter who says ‘The late-night ads are a really bad idea for the industry’. Overall the piece is a positive one citing the merits of the HECM when used wisely.
3-Government Shutdown? If there’s one certainty in life it is the political infighting in Washington, D.C., this time it could lead to a government shutdown. By the time you watch this episode, we should know if Republicans and Democrats were able to negotiate a stop-gap budget that President Trump would sign. If there is an extended shut down HECM endorsements would stop altogether, which would lead to a significant backlog. “FHA does not have the authority to insure additional HECMs during this period due to the statutory cap limiting the number of HECMs under the HECM program,” said a guidance piece issued by HUD during the last shutdown in 2013.
4- 2nd Annual Reverse Mortgage Education Week-Last week was Reverse Mortgage education week, during which the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association focuses on educating older adults, financial professionals, real estate agents, and family members about the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. Topics included tax and insurance defaults, avoiding scams, and the repayment process.