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What Problems Reveal About Ourselves


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How we deal with problems reveals much

reverse mortgage newsWhether it is in the course of originating reverse mortgages or personally we all encounter problems. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of problems but they seem to still like me. Problems are instructive. How we deal with problems reflects on who we are.

Problems come in all shapes and sizes: problem conditions with a loan, a borrower angry with their appraised value, unmet expectations or an argument with our spouse. How we deal with our problems not only reveals our character strengths and weaknesses but also determines our level of success.

Here are some common ways we can deal with problems that are revealing.


To blame is to shift responsibility to another. Finger pointing may be cathartic but never produces positive results. At its core blame is manipulation, not a trait anyone wants to have attributed to them. How often can we say ‘my bad’ or ‘I am sorry’?


Leaders don’t just work, good leaders do the hard thing. Accepting responsibility for a problem shows leadership, confidence and honesty. Mature leaders..

Download a transcript of this episode here.

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  1. The ostrich scenario has been clearly seen in our industry. From 10/1/2008 to 1/30/2013, we saw senior management at HUD refusing to deal with the growing monster it created and stimulated, fixed rate products at significantly higher principal limit factors and low ongoing MIP of just 0.5%. Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2013-01 dated and posted on 1/30/2013 started the termination of the fixed rate Standard. On 9/30/3014 HUD implemented a dramatic change to the HECM program due to the excesses of the prior fixed rate era.

    After the release of ML 2013-01, anger rippled throughout the industry. Those who reported our news were so concerned about the backlash that they refused to call the elimination either a termination of fixed rate Standards or or their elimination but rather adopted the rather euphemistic word “suspension” to describe the action by HUD. For months after, words of anger ruled the day.

    It has been over three years since the elimination process started. To this day, the cumulative impact of the start of the HECM era in the MMI Fund has been nothing but operating losses as confirmed in actuarial reports. Even now we are digging our way out of a cumulative operating loss of $684 million since the beginning of fiscal 2016 (10/1/2015).

    As the situation in the HECM portion of the MMI Fund was getting worse in early 2010, many originators would lash out when anyone tried to bring reason to the conversation for the need to terminate just fixed rate Standards. Later on false accusations of 1) steering and 2) no senior would ever want an adjustable rate product when a fixed was available, were heard throughout the industry. Worse, industry leadership was silent.

    Our industry has experienced all of the things listed in the vlog, particularly at extremes.

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