NRMLA Charging Members For NRMLAPedia, Why Am I Not Surprised?

image I’m back from the NRMLA conference in LA and one of the “big announcements” was the launch of NRMLAPedia, a resource guide for lenders that provides technical knowledge about reverse mortgages.  Think Wikipedia for reverse mortgages… great idea right?  I think so…

NRMLAPedia was created by NRMLA members over the past few months and NRMLA has decided to charge a “nominal” fee for access to it.  Yes, NRMLA is charging its own members to access something they created… such a NRMLA move.  Maybe they want to recoup the costs of burning NRMLAPedia onto CD’s since that’s the way they’re planning on distributing it.  The press release does say that they will eventually put it online, but doesn’t say whether or not they charge members to access it.

I’m going to offer to host NRMLAPedia on my server for free… as a dues paying member of NRMLA, I will happily incur the costs of bandwith and storage as long as NRMLA agrees to provide access to other members for free.  The members of NRMLA contributed all of the content for it, why should we have to pay for it?

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This is part of my frustration with NRMLA and I know others feel the same way.  At the conference I was told that NRMLA is looking for new ways to generate extra revenue… makes sense, but why are they trying to increase revenue by nickel and diming its own members instead of trying to increase membership?  We all know there are plenty of originators in the business who are not NRMLA members… why not use something like NRMLAPedia as a way to entice originators to join?

Whether it’s the $25 Learn While You Lunch or the “nominal fee” for access to NRMLAPedia, why do they charge members for these things?  I know this is a bit of a rant, but I’m tired of not saying anything about stuff like this.  Am I the only one that thinks their membership should include these things?

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  • No you are not. We did not renew our membership.
    Your site get us all the info that NRMLA has, and quicker.

    My beef with NRMLA is the seem to care more about the clients then the association that pays them.

    Also i am not happy they let AARP get away with reducing “our”, and no other way of recoping LOST income. Hard times are here, fees, audits are up but the lenders have to cover everthing with reduced fees.

  • Our chief problem with NRMLA is that it takes its mission from its name: National Reverse Mortgage LENDERS Association. It is not the National Reverse Mortgage Brokers or Originators Association.

  • Good idea why not a NRMBA or NRMOA or both? Lets put some muscle behind our efforts. I also think that FHA needs to revamp their fees from 2% upfront and .5% on the balance to 0% up front and 1% on the loan balance after funding till they collect equivalent to the 2% then reduce to .5%.

    With the economy in turmoil and senior equity in the trillions of dollars it seems to me it would make sense to make it easier for seniors to accept reverse mortgages by lowering the upfront cost.

  • Great idea Jim. I wish HUD would come up with another way to fund their MIP. But you know that when you are dealing with congress that ‘if it makes sense, you are doining it wrong.’

  • As a contributor to the NRMLApedia, I am shocked and rather annoyed that they are going to be charging a fee for this. I did not go to their convention, so this is the first I am hearing of it. No one ever said anything about fees.

  • I agree completely. I attended the conference and it was awful. It is absurd for them to be charging fees for the things that they do, especially when they are primarily a lobbying organization that failed its members miserably on the HERA interpretation. we waitied three montsh fo rteh simplest and poorest outcome ($417,000 national limit) after NRMLA had been telling us that they were working on getting us a better deal.

  • I agree, NRMLA charges huge fees, making it near impossible for the smaller shops to join. They have their meetings in the poshest resort hotels they can find that smaller shops can’t afford to attend and then they wonder why their membership doesn’t grow faster.

    When will they realize that the biggest investors that seem to run the show cannot support them in the style they have become accustomed to without the help of the smaller brokers?

  • I am not a Lender, I am a damn good Reverse Mortgage Loan Originator–so why would I belong to a Lender’s Association? You want my Association Membership Fees,
    you better represent me to help get my Senior Clients a better Reverse Mortgage Loan.

  • I didn’t renew my membership this year. I am a branch of a large brokerage company & if I join and pay the high fee, anyone else at my company can join for something like $50.00 a year from my membership. That doesn’t seem quite right. I would like to see some type of message board that has a few different categories like: wholesale lender info, marketing info, general industry info that we can go into and post msgs & get updated by other members. This is my first time in this website, can this website come up with something like that, or is it here & I need to look further?

  • I have been a NRMLA member for several years and attended in Chicago when there was only two vendors. Recently I did not renew my membership. Additionally I chose not to go to the conference this year even though they spammed me once a week with details. Unfortunately, NRMLA is becoming outdated and irrelevant. They have failed to provide value to their members and they have failed in their lobbying efforts. There was a day when simply being listed as a lender did get you some business. Those days are over. I believe a new group will take over the reins from here and we will all reminisce about the good ‘ole NRMLA days… Thanks you for writing this entry.

  • John,

    Please check with Ralph but the CD’s were sponsered by Generations and 1st Reverse. We gave them out at the conference and have more available. Peter forgot that announcement at the General Session.

  • Thanks Terry, I will follow up with Ralph.

    I agree with everyone that NRMLA doesn’t do a very good job representing the originators. At the conference in LA there was about 20 booths and I’d say there was less than 30 actual originators.

    I think there needs to be more of a focus on the originator in order to make NRMLA more succesfull. From the originators I talk to, no one has a problem paying for something as long as they feel they’re getting something out of it. I just think they need to provide more instead of charging nominal fees.

  • I was at the NRMLA expo in LA and it appeared that the vendors out numbered the originators by a large number. Why? Because if you just wanted to attend the expo NRMLA was charging an outrageous fee. $900 at the door! NRMLA is in it’s infancy and if it wants to grow it needs to make the events available to everyone. The hotel/convention center (Century Plaza, where President’s have stayed when they’re in town) is hugely expensive and limits the people that might like to attend. Parking was only $32 a day! Next time how about a small charge for just the expo and more to attend the expo and meetings? More people brings more interest.

  • NRMLA has a limited budget just like all of us. They are a non-profit. Without them the origination fees would be lower yet, bad press would not be countered, congess would be uninformed, there would be no code-of-conduct, etc.

    The fellow above who suggests that the initial MIP should be zero hasn’t done a pro-forma. 2% of the claim amount is hard to replace with additional MIP on the loan balance. Present values and all that.

  • Does NRMLA still get $15 on every HECM closed loan? If they are, and there are 10,000 loans closed every month, that would be $150,000 per month in fees to NRMLA. Maybe they could give us a free “Learn while you lunch” every once in a while.

  • I am in California. NRMLA does not have any power to regulate or inforce any regulations in California. I question whether they can enforce their Code Of Ethics, other than saying, you are no longer a member! If you are in violation of a Code Of Ethics, it does not mean you are in violation of the law. If you are in violation of the law, you are in violation of the Code Of Ethics.

    My concern is the many people getting into this business and the companies in this businees that do not recognize their Fiduciary and Legal obligation to the client/borrower.

    NRMLA needs to address all issues about licensed and non-licensed persons as representing the Reverse Mortgage Industry. This is very difficult today! When I got in the RM business in Spring 2002, there were 39 Lenders that closed a reverse mortgage in the last 12 months. Go onto http://www.hud.gov and look at the more than 660 Lenders today. How many are members of NRMLA?

    NRMLA, in my opinion, does have an opbligation to report all violations to the proper athorities in each state. I only hope they have the ability to do this. This is only an opinion. I appreciate what NRMLA does for the Indutry but we need more based on the many lenders and companies getting into this business.

    By-the-way, CA Department of Real Estate (DRE) does not act on a complaint in a expedient manner. The public is now looking at 6 to 9 months for a response to a filed complaint about any lender, etc.

  • The volume of response to this article is phenomenal. Admin, you hit the right chord.

    I am not a RM consultant, specialist, or anything else of that nature; I am a lowly RM originator, just like most of you. Most of us need to conserve costs especially with less products to sell and a $417,000 lending limit coupled with a “new” but much lower origination fee cap.

    But let me tell you a story most of you already know. If K. S. (a former originator) and the rest of his “consumer protective” AARP cohorts had had their way, our fees would be 1% of the principal limit (not the maximum claim amount). K. S. and his cohorts seem to believe we will perform better if we don’t eat. That may be true but….

    If it had not been for NRMLA, we all would be much less well off. Our NRMLA fees don’t provide nearly the “ammo” needed to take on AARP or other consumer “protectors”. NRMLA needs our continued support to be able to grow to get to where it can adequately protect us against the good intentions of the (alleged) consumer protectors.

    While I agree the locations for the conventions are extravagant, we need to let NRMLA know that. We also need to let them know that convention fees should be reduced. But our support for NRMLA should not wane or we will lose far more than we will gain. Why start all over?

    Too many people think that this little organization or that little organization will protect their interests — or how about the big guy, the MBA? If you believe any of these organizations are competent enough or interested enough in our little industry to endure the costs and time necessary to represent us, you are badly mistaken. Have you ever wondered what they are really promoting????

    In many respects we need to help NRMLA change inside out. Withdrawing our support now seems like a suicide wish and endeavor. The other organizations have their place, but if we, as a collective group of originators, don’t support NMRLA, we will not have an organization with the wherewithal or singular purpose that we need representing us. Now it’s time for me to get off my soap box and get back to work.

  • Since I work for a bank, it took several years before I could convince the powers that be that we should join NRMLA. 2007 was our first year as members and I am feeling a little let down. There are a few customers that found me this year from their website so that is a plus, but I would love to have more information that I could use on a daily basis. I certainly could NOT have been able to convince them to send me to the conference. $$$

  • To the other Jim:
    I certainly do not want to encourage anyone to withdraw their support, but I do want to encourage NRMLA to be more realistic about what it is for the guys on the street. Lobbying is one function but they can be so much more.

    Send out news and marketing aids – inform the guys on the street about upcoming legislations to encourage them to contact their congressmen. Take some of the money spent on extravagant meetings and spend it on education for the individuals. Stop looking at the industry just from the top level. Without the guys on the street all of their efforts would be in vain.

  • Great comments, I’m hoping NRMLA is reading this because I never meant for this to be a total NRMLA bash, because they do server a huge purpose and we do need them around. I think if they change some things and make it more originator friendly I think they can increase membership in a big way.

    Keep the comments coming!

  • Reverse Mortgage originators need to actively participate in the industry.

    At the 2007 NRMLA conference I broached the topic of a more affordable membership for originator because as a non member I was not eligible to buy the record of the conference. The NRMLA response? They hoped my business improved so I could afford membership.

    Two things seem clear.
    NRMLA is failing to maximize its revenues by discouraging originators from participation. Wouldn’t originators with few educational options be anxious to participate in Lunch and Learns, webinars and similar situations at a reasonable price? Second, NRMLA seems unaware of or disinterested in the significant role originators could play in accomplishing NRMLAs goals, if membership provisions for originators encouraged our participation.

    How do originators approach NRMLA to determine if they intend to represent our interests and satisfy our needs or if they prefer to exclusively embrace Lenders?

  • I was Director of Communications for a large board of Realtors many years ago — years during which they were deciding whether real estate companies were the only members (aka clients) or whether it was time to charge individual agents and serve them directly (while still servicing their companies). In my area, the Board is now a true Realtor organization and it charges and supports every individual Realtor agent who is a member. It’s been a huge success.

    Several years ago I moved over to the reverse mortgage business. I feel strongly about the role NRMLA should play and although I’m just an originator, I paid the money out of my pocket for membership. I believe that my company will recognize the value of the group and reimburse me for the dues (which are indeed quite high).

    Here’s my point . . . I believe trade associations evolve as they learn what their members demand. Hopefully NRMLA will recognize this quickly and provide affordable originator memberships in 2009. In the meantime, I find my membership useful.

  • I am waiting for the day that NRMLA defends our industry against ridiculous claims regarding the sale of unsuitable insurance products. The problem is not Reverse Mortgages and if they are supposed to be our voice, why do they allow the slander? Why aren’t they working with the Insurance Commissioners across the country to expose the truth?

  • How many of the NRMLA bashers on here actively donate their time and expertise to a committee?
    How many of you have taken the time to reach out in your own community to govn’t leaders, introduce your selves, and become recognized as trusted sources of expertise and information. Whats that you say? Oh, thats the job of the Lender, not the originator? Hmmm. You see folks, it’s the sum of the parts. Kind of like “hoping for change”. It aint gonna happen until YOUR sleeves get rolled up, and you effect positive momentum. How many of these comments would be here if everyone was banging out 20 loans a month? Likely none. Where were all the negative comments after last years conference? I can hear the crickets chirping, can you? Listen folks, NRMLA has very very capable leadership. If you don’t believe that, look at any other association you belong to. NRMLA leadership is also very available, and accountable. If you’re so concerned, have you raised your hand and asked the question? The great thing about our association, and country for that matter: if you don’t like the leadership….BECOME a leader.
    Less whining, more action. Who’s with me?
    Respectfully,
    Joe Don Nugget

  • Hmmm…how many of us are on committees in an organization we can’t afford to join…hmmm…that’s a hard one to answer…
    THe criticism is that the organization is unaffordable to the vast majority of people in the industry. THe criicism is that instead of free education, the focus is on expensive meetings a 5 star resorts.

    And I did once ask why all the meetings were in such expensive hotels and the answer was because no one wants to go to a cheap hotel for a meeting. I believe they are wrong.

  • It takes less than 1 loan origination to join the association and attend the conference and live large at the conference. Less than 1 loan. By joining, you’ll likely increase your business, heck, you might even find a better place to work.

    What you likely don’t know is that these conference locations are booked 3 years in advance, with a contract.

    Now, go originate that loan!

  • Okay, NRMLA probably set its fees according to what it thought reverse mortgage lenders could pay without much difficulty. And that made and still makes sense from the viewpoint of an entity trying to start advocacy for what was then a new and is still a young industry.

    On the other hand, we have the National Association of Mortgage Brokers which represents originators and brokers, but their focus is on the forward side of the industry. Membership is a great deal at $95/yr.

    What if NRMLA re-priced membership for small brokers and originators, and formed a co-operative group with NAMB to look at reverse mortgage-specific and broker-specific matters using each others expetise and experience? I’m wondering if this would broaden each organization’s reach but in a way that could be funded by reduced membership fees (since it builds upon what each is already doing).

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