||February 1st, 2007|
Reverse Mortgages . . .
with Laura Strickler
Laura Strickler -
Your Reverse Mortgage Specialist
Living In Reverse
The National Reverse Mortgage Lender's Association (NRMLA) is the national voice of the reverse mortgage industry, serving as an educational resource, policy advocate and public affairs center for lenders and related professionals. NRMLA was established in 1997 to enhance the professionalism of the reverse mortgage business.
At the 2006 annual conference of the National Reverse Mortgage Lender's Association (NRMLA) in San Francisco, much time was spent discussing the growth of the reverse mortgage industry. Nationwide, there were 76,351 reverse mortgages made last year. That's up from 43,131 loans made in 2005. More seniors are utilizing the reverse mortgage program to help them stay in their home during their retirement. This increase creates some exciting, if slightly problematic, issues.
At the conference, president Peter Bell gave reasons for this growth, stating that the reverse mortgage is a product "whose time is arriving," broad consumer acceptance of the reverse mortgage idea, positive press coverage, consumer realization that "there are benefits to tapping the equity in their homes rather than just sitting on it," and support from lawmakers in Congress and regulators at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Bell went on to say that "The only thing that can hamper our growth is a negative perception that our business is unprofessional and untrustworthy." This is exactly what NRMLA was developed to prevent. Education and training is essential in maintaining the reputation of the industry. The reverse mortgage industry is constantly evolving, with new products, technologies and efficiencies just around the corner.
Many more lenders are getting into the reverse mortgage field because of the decline of their regular mortgage business (purchases and refinances). When business drops, lenders and brokers seek other markets to fill the void. Their interest may be short term, taking business without really knowing the intricacies of selecting the best program for the senior. What that means to the senior is that they may not get a loan officer who is knowledgeable enough to give them accurate advice.
Clients have told me of their attempts to get reverse mortgage information from a home mortgage consultant at a bank, only to be given information on a 40 or 50 year mortgage! This is exactly the type of behavior that NRMLA's Code of Conduct and Best Practices guards against.
I have been in this field since it wasn't the program "whose time is arriving" as Peter Bell put it. I have worked at educating myself and have obtained additional designations to further my understanding of my chosen field. I am a member of NRMLA. I am now a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA). I am a member of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging. Members of these organizations agree to abide by high ethical standards and the organization's code of conduct. These are credentials seniors should look for when seeking information on reverse mortgages.
I am excited about our upcoming seminars. The next seminar will be the first part of March. I will speak on reverse mortgages, and there will also be speakers on long term care insurance and trust/estate planning. I will keep you posted on the dates, times and locations. Also, I have been working on a website. It is full of information seniors will find useful on reverse mortgages, long term care insurance and links to many senior websites.
Remember, I am available to speak at small groups too! Please call me at 800.491.2374 if you have any questions or comments. Stay tuned to the column for exciting new reverse mortgage products!
Your Local Reverse