Don’t Get Suckered: Consumer Reports

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Consumer Reports Article Cautions Readers

reverse mortgage newsThe magazine and self-described consumer educator and advocacy group Consumer Reports recently published an article entitled “Don’t Be Suckered Into Buying a Reverse Mortgage”.

In it’s paternalistic zeal Consumer Reports does dispense some practical advice but unfortunately makes use of pejorative terms such as vulnerable, at risk, ambiguous, and suckered. Today we will take a short editorial and factual review to prepare you to work with potential borrowers who may have read this piece.

Consumer Reports begins with the claim that the loans are often advertised as a risk-free way to fill the financial gaps in retirement. Not surprising since several media outlets have jumped on the CFPB’s recent report of reverse mortgage complaints, many which are related to advertising.

The article states that…

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What Lies Ahead?

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 What Can We Expect in 2014?

Reverse Mortgage News

With the changes and permutations the HECM program has undergone since 2010 one could argue we have already undergone a makeover of sorts. The Saver program, HECM for Purchase and the introduction and revocation of the standard fixed rate. True. However HUD’s recent revamp of the program stands apart as it’s first and only change that is a hard push back to the program’s original intent…to help senior homeowner’s age in place. The Saver gaves us increased crediability with lower costs and opened doors in the financial community. The HECM for Purchase expanded our legitimacy amongst real estate professionals and builders while the fixed rate maximized proceeds while securing interest rates. With recovering home values and a consolidated product what does 2014 hold in store? Here are just a few  speculations on what we can anticipate.

#1- New marketing. While the traditional reverse mortgage ads of the past increased public awareness of the reverse mortgage product, they have also attracted detractors concerned the typical message attempts to lure seniors with promises of vacations, luxury purchases and a flush retirement lifestyle. That may be a stretch yet it warrants our attention. In 2014 expect to see new and creative campaigns focusing on the HECM’s role in retirement planning versus cash alone. Will this attract a more affluent borrower? Time will tell.

#2- Further lender consolidation. We have already seen some medium sized lenders exit the space since last October. Expect a few remaning key players to step to the sidelines in the coming months. Today’s lending environment presents particular challenges to smaller shops with increased regulatory and compliance costs.

#3- Tenure, the loan de jour. Just as the Standard Fixed rate was the rage expect lenders and loan officers to begin promoting the powerful flexibility and growth potential of deferred tenure payments or a line of credit. Though some have lamented the loss of the standard fixed this new product landscape will convert many back to presenting the HECMs true flexibility and long term value when structured properly.


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