During the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association Annual Conference in San Diego last month, concern was raised about the readiness of HECM counselors to advise borrowers on the topics required by California’s new mandated reverse mortgage counseling checklist. The checklist is a part of the California Elder Protection Act, also known as AB 329.
For some in the reverse mortgage industry, the counseling checklist has been quite contentious. There are concerns about whether or not it will be funded correctly and whether housing counselors are really qualified to discuss tax obligations with the borrower, let alone complications such as gifts of title in the case of divorce and gifts involving a non-resident alien spouse. But the counseling agencies do not appear worried.
When contacted by RMD, Doug Erickson, Vice President Partner Relations of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS), said, “Our counselors will fully cover the questions in the checklist as a part of their regular counseling session. Most of the questions on the checklist are already included in our sessions. We will have some additional training prior to implementation of this requirement to assure that all the pertinent issues are covered.”
Michael Keene, President of the National Housing Counseling Association, also said that the items on the checklist were, “something that should be routinely covered in every session.” He added, “Every counselor who has passed the test should be able to answer those questions.”
The California Elder Protection Act, AB 329, goes into effect on January 1, 2010.
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