Massachusetts Senate Passes Bill to Require in Person Counseling, Gets Interesting

The Massachusetts state Senate unanimously approved legislation to require that seniors receive face to face counseling sessions before they enter into a reverse mortgage.

Sen. Susan Tucker (D-Andover) sponsored the legislation and told ItemLive “it was the wild west for many seniors,” adding she’d heard story after story of sad people selling annuities and convincing people to take on reverse mortgages at a huge commission.

Not all legislators approved of the requirement. Sen. Brian Joyce (D-Milton) said the state only has a few face to face counselors available for the 2,500 to 3,000 seniors a year who seek reverse mortgages.

Advertisement

Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei told ItemLive the proposal is demeaning to seniors, who he said are capable of deciding for themselves whether to obtain reverse mortgages, without a mandatory face-to-face counseling session. “You’re assuming seniors are stupid,” Tisei said. “The state’s saying because you’re elderly you can’t make decisions. You have to have a mandatory session.”

Tisei proposed an amendment which would’ve taken out the face to face counseling requirement but was rejected by a vote of 33-4 by Democrats who countered that the measure is a consumer protection to help seniors with a process that is complicated even for some financial analysts they said.

However, the bill has changed a bit from its original form. Sen. Tucker spokesperson told RMD that “in person counseling will only be required for people below 50% of the area median income with less than $120,000 in assets beyond their primary residence.”

This causes problems for both seniors and lenders as there aren’t many physical counseling locations in the state. Lenders in the state can only use agencies which are approved by HUD and the Department of Elder Affairs said Jack Belles, President of Reverse Mortgages of New England.

“This is going to hurt business, 100% of our borrowers do counseling offer the phone because there are not many agencies that do face to face counseling in the state,” said Belles. The Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs currently lists six approved counseling agencies on its website.

RMD asked the Senator whether or not she would help make sure there are enough counseling agencies in the state to meet demand and didn’t receive a response by press time.

The bill now moves to the House for further action, if signed into law, it will go into effect 18 months after the bill is signed.

Join the Conversation (12)

see all

This is a professional community. Please use discretion when posting a comment.

  • Senator Tucker's comments calling our industry “the wild wild west” is typical hyperbole for someone with no agenda other than trying to draw attention to herself.

    These insane and completely unnecessary state regulations are a real threat to all of us and my only hope is that NRMLA is on this and working feverishly to inform the Massachusetts legislature how ridiculous this bill is.

    The only “wild wild west” out there is in state legislatures that don't understand reverse mortgages yet feel compelled to pass stupid laws supposedly in the interest of protecting seniors.

    Well I happen to age-qualify for a HECM Senator Tucker, and I find your proposed bill insulting to my intelligence.

  • While there should be an immediate concern about having sufficient counseling facilities and counselors, how will the system absorb any substantial increase in volume?

    With this legislation introduced and passed by one Massachusetts legislative chamber, it now seems to have some momentum. If that is true, watch out because “such legislation may come to a state house near you.” Massachusetts is a trend setter. States like California and Minnesota pick up and take notice whenever New York or Massachusetts propose “consumer protection” measures.

    If the Massachusetts Senators wanted to make a meaningful division for when face-to-face counseling should be required they should have done it by requiring that all borrowers must be counseled; however, if a senior can prove that he/she/they has received reverse mortgage advice from a Massachusetts licensed legal or financial professional such as an attorney or CPA, that senior should be permitted to receive counseling by phone or face-to-face. All other borrowers would be required to obtain counseling face-to-face.

    I was not aware that dementia or Alzheimer’s are class conscious problems. It seems legislators cannot avoid class distinctions and warfare. What a sad comment on our elected officials.

    • Hi Critic,
      I see this as a “Willy Sutton” problem. The crooks/relatives, and even honest salespeople, go where the money is. Any person, including seniors that gets, or can get, a bunch of money might attract those offering or wanting to help or relieve that person of their money. Sure there are good uses for lump-sum RM proceeds and that's not the problem. I can only speak for the insurance industry (annuity and other sales) and think that the state insurance departments should step up to protect these folks from predatory practices, or at least put some hoops (more forms) so at least a paper trail exists for possible future law suits where a definite patern of abuse is taking place. As far as other predators, there should also be impediments to transfers of large sums, without justifiable reasons and again, a paper trail. (Unfortunately, as we used to say in the Army, the government can _____ on a desert.)
      As far as

      • dduck12,

        Great to see your participation once again.

        This bill is like California's reverse mortgage legislation which puts new requirements (or perhaps that should be labelled “suggestions”) on counseling but fails to provide any financing to facilitate the requirement. Reminds me more of another famous Willie in his less corrupt days — but this time a fictional one, Willie Stark.

      • Nice to be back after a computer virus and spending hours and hours in India on the phone.

  • To Susan Tucker I ask, what is the source of these stories and who are the players, and why have you not gone after them? Those of us in the industry want them out just as much as you do, To the Reverse Mortgage Industry I ask, where are you? It's far past the time when you should be proactive instead of reactive. Legislatures across the country have been doing things like this for more than a year now. All it takes is a little education.To the legislature I ask, why just reverse mortgages? Why not all mortgages, look at all the 20-30-40- somethings that were taken advantage of and put into innapropriate vehicles which brought the country down.

  • On a positive note, in-person counseling puts the originator in a safer position if, later on, a claim is made that the borrower lacked capacity to enter into the transaction.

  • Sen. Susan Tucker (D-Andover) sponsored the legislation and told ItemLive “it was the wild west for many seniors,” adding she’d heard story after story of sad people selling annuities and convincing people to take on reverse mortgages at a huge commission.
    Really? Story after story? I find this completely unbelievable! Not only because I believe this to more of isolated cases and more in the past than present, but I also find it VERY hard to believe that Sen. Tucker would even take the TIME to listen to story after story! This is another case of a our elected officials using hearsay to grandstand about what they are doing to protect our senior citizens from the evil that is out there. And then introducing a bill that will cause great problems within the state and offer no solution to solve this problem “RMD asked the Senator whether or not she would help make sure there are enough counseling agencies in the state to meet demand and didn’t receive a response by press time”.
    Another issue that I have is that time and time again I see and hear legislators refer to our products as “complicated even for some financial analysts”. I am not saying that RM’s are simple enough for a 5th grader, but too complicated for a finance professional? Am I missing something? I really do not find these complicated at all and I KNOW my clients understand them completely. If our elected officials find RM’s complicated no wonder our country is in the state that it is in!
    For any legislator who thinks Reverse Mortgages are complicated financial transactions I am very concerned that they have the ability to effectively handle the position for which they were elected.

  • After being in this industry for close to 6 years, I have yet to hear the stories Tucker refers to. I have a Santa Clause size sack of “thank-you's” not only from borrowers, but from adult children as well. Hud took a survey in which the satisfaction rate on RM's came in over 95%. Not sure Tucker's track record is even close. What a shame!!

  • What happens to the 80 year old who lives in the middle of nowhere? Is the government going to provide transportation? They would be better supplying the senior with a copy of AARP's 52 page booklet on reverse mortgages.

  • As usual…totally non educated and unfounded allegations being made by elected officials.
    If they ever realize that they are hurting the very seniors they claim they are trying to protect with this false information and usurious legislation they will be ashamed of themselves…I hope!

  • As usualu2026totally non educated and unfounded allegations being made by elected officials.rnIf they ever realize that they are hurting the very seniors they claim they are trying to protect with this false information and usurious legislation they will be ashamed of themselvesu2026I hope!rn

string(126) "https://reversemortgagedaily.com/2010/05/04/massachusetts-senate-passes-bill-to-require-in-person-counseling-gets-interesting/"

Share your opinion

[wpli_login_link redirect="https://reversemortgagedaily.com/2010/05/04/massachusetts-senate-passes-bill-to-require-in-person-counseling-gets-interesting/"]