The media continues to dwell on the speech given by Comptroller of the Currency’s John Dugan at the ABA’s Regulatory Compliance Conference and Generation Mortgage’s Jeff Lewis continues to fight back.
I think it’s fair to say that Lewis has become the media’s go to guy for reverse mortgage commentary and over the past few days he started to take a stronger approach in dealing with Dugan’s comments.
In Reverse mortgage compliance challenge looms for banks, the ABA Banking Journal details why Dugan’s speech leaves Lewis “fuming” because “there was no great urgency for him to opine on this topic,” says Lewis.
When asked about Dugan’s concern over the sudden availability of cash available to seniors that take out reverse mortgages, Lewis said that, “there was almost a presumption that any product sold to a senior citizen is a ripoff.” He added that the speech implied that “our customers are incapable of fending for themselves. These people are intelligent, independent, and capable of being adults.”
It doesn’t end with the ABA article either. Broker Universe published Lewis Angry With Dugan Speech on Reverses where he defends the industry and said, “We are an incredibly self-aware industry and we are working through the challenges that we face."
When asked about the concerns from using reverse mortgages to fund other investments, Lewis said, "We don’t sell life insurance, we don’t sell annuities, we don’t sell investments and we’re not responsible – we can’t be held responsible – if the people who do sell those things don’t treat their customers properly. We treat our customers properly in our industry."
It is amazing, he added, that if a senior citizen buys an inappropriate financial product, the blame is shifted to the reverse mortgage lender. The real issue is where is the oversight on those companies?
It continues in the Chicago Tribune’s Reverse mortgage debate in overdrive where Lewis argues that the whole purpose of the HECM program is to make loans to seniors who don’t fit into the traditional market. "Pointing that out as a harbinger of doom is ludicrous. Without this product, if people couldn’t get to the money in their house, they’d just have to sell them. It’s a complicated instrument but it’s not an instrument that takes advantage of anybody.”