Now more than a million HECMs. Do you have one?

November 1, 2016

WASHINGTON (November 1, 2016) – The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association applauds the Federal Housing Administration today for insuring more than one million reverse mortgages through its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, which was first created 27 years ago. FHA endorsed 3,919 loans in October 2016, which brings the total number of older homeowners who have benefitted from FHA-backed reverse mortgages to 1,002,679.

“As an industry, we are proud to offer a financial product that helps older adults supplement their retirement funds while living in their own homes,” said NRMLA President and CEO Peter Bell. “We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and especially to the work of the late Ed Szymanoski, for modeling the original pilot program that made the HECM program possible.”

The National Housing Act of 1988, Section 255, authorized HUD to create a demonstration program:

To meet the special needs of elderly homeowners by reducing the effect of the economic hardship caused by the increasing costs of meeting health, housing, and subsistence needs at a time of reduced income, through the insurance of home equity conversion mortgages to permit the conversion of a portion of accumulated home equity into liquid assets; and (2) to encourage and increase the involvement of mortgagees and participants in the mortgage markets in the making and servicing of home equity conversion mortgages for elderly homeowners.

In addition to stating the intent of the HECM program, the statute also lists loan requirements which include mandatory third-party counseling for all borrowers. The Fiscal Year 1998 HUD Appropriations Act made HECM a permanent program.

A reverse mortgage is a loan that enables homeowners that are generally 62 years of age or older to use part of their homes’ equity to obtain cash proceeds that can be used in many ways. The loan does not have to be repaid until the last surviving borrower or remaining eligible non-borrowing spouse passes away or permanently leaves the home, or if the homeowners sell the home, or fail to meet the loan obligations, that include paying property taxes and insurance, and keeping their home maintained.

HECM loans account for nearly all of the reverse mortgages on the market today, though other types of reverse mortgage loans are offered by some states and private lenders.

Throughout HECM’s 27 year history, HUD has continually introduced policies to improve and sustain the FHA-backed reverse mortgage program. Recent guidance has included new protections for borrowers and their eligible spouses, efforts to ensure long-term access to equity to support the ability to age in place, and a financial review of borrowers.

About the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association
The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) is the national voice for the industry and represents the lenders, loan servicers, credit unions, and housing counseling agencies responsible for more than 90 percent of reverse mortgage transactions in the United States. All NRMLA member companies commit themselves to a Code of Ethics & Professional Responsibility. Learn more at www.nrmlaonline.org.

Media Contact: Jenny Werwa, jwerwa@dworbell.com, 202-939-1783