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Up in the air


Presently I’m cruising along at 36,000 feet on my way to Atlanta for NRMLA’s 2022 Annual Meeting. Like my fellow passengers, we find ourselves up in the air.; somewhere between uncertainty and new heights accompanied by a few spasms of sporadic turbulence. 

Much is up in the air for lenders, originators, or anyone remotely connected to real estate. That’s not surprising considering that the average 30-year mortgage rate has more than doubled since the beginning of the year and several U.S. metros have already seen double-digit reductions in home values since August.

However, one thing is clear- those who innovate are typically the ones who weather the storm.

HECM Innovations of Yesteryear

It was as the housing market was clawing its way out of a near collapse, that the Federal Housing Administration announced a new kind of Home Equity Conversion Mortgage- the HECM Saver. The Saver gave cost-conscious borrowers much lower closing costs in exchange for access to less potential loan proceeds. The program won over many critics of the program for its lower cost structure, and more importantly, the Saver opened the door to the strategic use of a HECM in retirement income planning. This later was popularized as the Standby Reverse Mortgage.

While the Saver brought new opportunities and garnered positive media coverage, it was retired three short years later in 2013, the same year the HECM Stabilization Act was made official. Will we see the Saver’s triumphant return in a market yearning for flexibility? That too is also up in the air.

It’s cyclical

We know that the HECM’s history is one of new beginnings, and euphoric growth followed by unforeseen setbacks. In turn, these adversities led to technological improvements, new sales strategies, and improved efficiencies. Each in turn helped our industry even in the most turbulent markets, but more importantly, it taught us to adapt. It is for that reason that reverse mortgage professionals have proven themselves to be the most resilient fraternity of mortgage professionals.


Editor in Chief: HECMWorld.com
As a prominent commentator and Editor in Chief at HECMWorld.com, Shannon Hicks has played a pivotal role in reshaping the conversation around reverse mortgages. His unique perspectives and deep understanding of the industry have not only educated countless readers but has also contributed to introducing practical strategies utilizing housing wealth with a reverse mortgage.
Shannon’s journey into the world of reverse mortgages began in 2002 as an originator and his prior work in the financial services industry. Shannon has been covering reverse mortgage news stories since 2008 when he launched the podcast HECMWorld Weekly. Later, in 2010 he began producing the weekly video series The Industry Leader Update and Friday’s Food for Thought.
Readers wishing to submit stories or interview requests can reach our team at: info@hecmworld.com.

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  1. Since I only came to the HECM World of mortgage lending after I retired as an RIA, it’s interesting to learn something new about the history of the product, so thanks for that. Also, thanks for the pep talk, coach!

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