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Improvise, Adapt & Overcome



The best can be born from adversity…

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Change In Reverse Mortgage Business

Improvise, adapt and overcome. You may have heard this phrase from your military friends or around the water cooler. This phrase has been adapted by the US Marines and embodies the attitude of persistence, adjustment and success in the face of daunting odds. Our change approaches as the Revrse Mortgage Stabilizing Act of 2013 has passed both the House and Senate and awaits the President’s signature. As we progress in our careers as reverse mortgage professionals we embrace what works and continue to work that plan until….That’s the keyword. When our industry or business reaches a crossroad we face the challenge of change once again and have a choice….continue doing what used to work with diminishing results or…


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  1. Sounds like steering — it’s probably illegal.

    • What??? I hope you are kidding because I for one am not laughing.

  2. Awesome reminder Shannon. When I was at Marine Corps boot camp on Parris Island SC in 1979, there were many times that this phrase was essential in being able to make it through the day, especially the “overcome” part.

    As a HECM professional, the winds of change have blown us across the quarter deck and the parade grounds, and we have to re-group and instill new rules of engagement with prospective borrowers.

    Not allowing opposing forces to defeat you on the business battlefield and going on the offense instead of setting up a defensive perimeter is the way to ensure success and growth.

    Semper Fidelis and ooorah!!!

    • Ooorah! Thank you Brien. May the Marine Corps motto be adapted as all our own!

  3. Unfortunately, we often must improvise, adapt and overcome issues and problems of our own making. We could use a little more vision, strategic planning and proactive behavior but instead often find ourselves “behind the eight ball”, playing catch-up, and all other sorts of reactionary, knee-jerk reactions to issues we should have seen coming long before they turn into giant problems.
    We could also use a stronger voice and a more proactive role in the direction of our industry then just maybe we could avoid some of the constant crisis management dramas we seem to be experiencing.

  4. There are many ways to look at our present situation today. One is to wake up and realize that many of the restrictions which cause us to originate HECMs which we KNOW are far more likely than not to result in default will soon be mitigated if not essentially eliminated but also many of the originators who gleefully made such loans are or soon will be gone out of the industry. It will not be sad to say goodbye to those days of regret.

    If that paragraph sounds accusatory it is no different than what most intellectual leaders in our industry have been saying for some time. We all have heard the term “bottom feeder” and they are as much in our industry as anywhere else. To many Democrats (in particular) it has given occasion to comparisons such as “preying on seniors like a bogus reverse-mortgage peddler.” (See

    As HUD tries to steer a better course for HECMs and the MMI Fund now and in future, we will be pounded with news that more and more of the projected losses on the 2013 and prior fiscal years (back to and including fiscal 2009) are maturing into realized losses for the MMI Fund due to HECM terminations. Many of those losses will not turn around due to better home values simply because those better values are not large enough to completely offset the damage that full draw HECMs at funding have done to the MMI Fund originated combined with a falling and low appreciation home market.

    Let us get over it now; newly endorsed HECM have not been self-sustaining in well over four fiscal years now. As stated on Myth Busters, “another myth busted.”

    With the elimination of fixed rate Standards, the high dollar amount for back-end investor premiums may not return for some time, if ever. Perhaps with time, our image problems will improve and senors will once again see us more often as someone is trying to help them than people to be leery of.

    One thing seems certain, the days of revenues like those during fiscal 2005 and earlier are generally behind us. Let us stop the fear mongering until the President signs H.R. 2167 and HUD lays out its design for HECMs in fiscal 2014 and beyond. By October 1, 2013, our future should be set in motion. As usual I remain skeptical but certainly not pessimistic unless the preponderance of facts say otherwise. Here is to hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

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