I’ve been hearing from several HECM counselors and reverse mortgage lenders about the problems associated with some of the new counseling procedures and FHA Connection. Below is an article written by Enrique M. Juarez, HECM Manager, CCCS of Orange County to help explain some of the issues.
First I would like to deal with technology. Some of the HUD approved counseling agencies were not prepared with adequate technology such as scanning documents into the PDF file formats in order to get register for the FHA HECM counselor application process that HUD now requires. This has caused some HUD approved housing counseling agencies some down time while they had to invest money in upgrading their technology in order to begin the registration process.
HUD recommends that the each approved housing counseling agency has at least two HECM counselor roster application coordinators in order to verify the information once a HECM counselor has registered. Some agencies have only one or two HECM counselors, which has caused some delays in them completing their registration process.
One of the major issues that the lenders have faced with using FHA connection and the newer generated HECM certificates from the web based system is trying to order the FHA case number. Several lenders were trying to get FHA case numbers by putting the HUD approved agencies HUD HCS number, because the new HECM certificates no longer had the employer identification number (EIN) or taxpayer identification number (TIN) on the newer certificates. This has caused some confusion on both sides of the fence. Per HUD’s FAQ’s for HECM counselor Roster Question #7 the counseling agencies were no longer required to provide the EIN or TIN number because “…each certificate will have a unique alpha-numeric ID which the lender will use to look the client up in FHA Connection” but this has yet to be implemented. To correct this issue, HUD has advised that all HECM counselors hand-write their agency EIN (Employer ID number) on each certificate they issue until further notice.
By Enrique M. Juarez, HECM Manager, CCCS of Orange County