Reverse Giving Launched by Industry Veteran

Sixteen years ago, Lyn R. Link was helping a senior with a reverse mortgage. But she wasn’t taking out the reverse mortgage to help herself; instead the charitable widow’s purpose was to buy a bus for her church. Link, formerly the founder of the National Reverse Mortgage Education Center, was touched by the widow’s generosity and inspired by his senior client’s joy in being able to help her church. This inspiration birthed the idea for Reverse Giving.

Since that experience, Link has been building his idea into a reality, gathering the necessary knowledge and connecting with local churches. Earlier this year, Link sold the National Reverse Mortgage Education Center and is ready to focus on combining the reverse mortgage industry and his charitable efforts.

Reverse Giving will officially launch on July 19, 2010 with the mission to increase giving to churches, many of which are experiencing a drop in financial support during the past two years as a result of the recession.

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“The reverse giving idea is a simple one that many reverse mortgage professionals may recognize from their own experience with senior customers,” says Link. “Reverse giving is when a senior homeowner takes out a reverse mortgage and gives a portion of the funds to their church, or simply put: Idle equity turned into meaningful giving.”

Reverse Giving will be funded by a sponsorship program for reverse mortgage professionals. By helping Reverse Giving, sponsors receive help building relationships with churches, expanding the reverse mortgage market to reach the other 97 percent of seniors who were previously uninterested or unreachable.

“Reverse Giving opens the door to churches, which can benefit reverse mortgage professionals,” says Link. “They are able to build a relationship with churches and help their senior members who have pledged to reverse giving. Reverse giving has the potential to expand the market for reverse mortgages to more affluent seniors.”

While there are some charitable organizations that are not reputable and take advantage of seniors’ generosity, Link says the last thing he wants is for Reverse Giving to be associated with any abuse of senior adults.

A copy of the organization’s Code of Ethics will be provided to each new church subscriber and is always available on Reverse Giving’s website. Church leaders and senior adults can report any violation and Reverse Giving will investigate fully. If a violation has been committed, the sponsor will be immediately terminated, per the company’s Sponsorship Agreement.

Reverse mortgage professionals interested in becoming a Reverse Giving sponsor should act now to enjoy a lower monthly sponsorship fee. Only 35 “founding” members will be given this opportunity by joining before Reverse Giving’s official launch in July. Currently, there are 29 positions left on a first-come, first-serve basis. After the launch, sponsorship opportunities will open again for any interested reverse mortgage professionals.

Written by Kelly Mellott

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  • The idea of borrowing money to donate to a church, or any charity, doesn't sit well with many people. Granted, with a reverse mortgage the borrower/donor may not suffer the burdens of making payments on that debt. But, this will raise eyebrows and red-flags despite the seemingly noble intentions. This is a dangerous and slippery slope.

  • Gifting, even to churches, can affect one receiving Medicaid. There is a 5 year look back rule for any type of gifting. I would recommend seniors participating in this program to talk with an Elder Law Attorney before doing any type of gifting.

  • Many charitable individuals open their homes to family members in need and others who are less fortunate. Many of these charitable individuals would want to leave a roof over the heads of their loved ones. Imagine their sorrow if, right before they die, they discover that everyone will be evicted and cast out onto the streets because of a loan that was taken out to purchase something as trivial as a bus.

    • Prescott,

      To you and your imagined borrower, sorrow will come. Some borrowers are delighted and stay delighted that they have been able to help in something they believe despite future adversity.

      If the senior reaches the conclusion that this gift satisfies their goals, then what is wrong with that? I do not believe Mr. Link did anything wrong 16 years ago.

      What I hate is putting such a powerful financial product in the hands of church leaders to seek out vulnerable seniors. While not all church leaders are greedy, some are. No one can guarantee that the church representative who interfaces with this new entity will be the person who seeks out gifting seniors. That is where I think this idea potentially goes terribly wrong.

  • Wow, what a great idea for marketing my reverse mortgage business!! This is what first came to my mind when I started to read this article. By the time I had finished the article I had a very bad taste in my mouth and knot in my stomach that is telling me that this is wrong!! I am all for helping seniors that genuinely want and need help accessing the equity in their homes to help them selves and or their communities. But I am afraid that many senior that participate in the program will end up with a very bad feeling in their stomach as a result of their participation.

    Ron Hopkins
    ronh@homelg.biz

  • The Bible promotes not being in debt or taking on debt; the ideal has good intentions but has little merit through – you are advising a senior member of your congregation to take on a compounding interest loan to pay the lights, etc. Churches themselves need to stay away from this as it is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Just as the shell game that was played by builders and non-profit groups providing the 3% downpayment on purchases a few years ago – does not FHA ever learn.

  • Many charitable individuals open their homes to family members in need and others who are less fortunate. Many of these charitable individuals would want to leave a roof over the heads of their loved ones. Imagine their sorrow if, right before they die, they discover that everyone will be evicted and cast out onto the streets because of a loan that was taken out to purchase something as trivial as a bus.

  • I don't agree with the organization and feel this is just another way to deceive Seniors!!Charity begins at home and Seniors who need to take out a reverse mortgage, need the funds for meeting their daily needs. I am certain Seniors donate as much as they can afford to their churches!!

  • Wow, what a great idea for marketing my reverse mortgage business!! This is what first came to my mind when I started to read this article. By the time I had finished the article I had a very bad taste in my mouth and knot in my stomach that is telling me that this is wrong!! I am all for helping seniors that genuinely want and need help accessing the equity in their homes to help them selves and or their communities. But I am afraid that many senior that participate in the program will end up with a very bad feeling in their stomach as a result of their participation. rnrnRon Hopkinsrnronh@homelg.biz

  • The Bible promotes not being in debt or taking on debt; the ideal has good intentions but has little merit through – you are advising a senior member of your congregation to take on a compounding interest loan to pay the lights, etc. Churches themselves need to stay away from this as it is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Just as the shell game that was played by builders and non-profit groups providing the 3% downpayment on purchases a few years ago – does not FHA ever learn.

  • I don’t agree with the organization and feel this is just another way to deceive Seniors!!Charity begins at home and Seniors who need to take out a reverse mortgage, need the funds for meeting their daily needs. I am certain Seniors donate as much as they can afford to their churches!!

  • Prescott,rnrnTo you and your imagined borrower, sorrow will come. Some borrowers are delighted and stay delighted that they have been able to help in something they believe despite future adversity.rnrnIf the senior reaches the conclusion that this gift satisfies their goals, then what is wrong with that? I do not believe Mr. Link did anything wrong 16 years ago. rnrnWhat I hate is putting such a powerful financial product in the hands of church leaders to seek out vulnerable seniors. While not all church leaders are greedy, some are. No one can guarantee that the church representative who interfaces with this new entity will be the person who seeks out gifting seniors. That is where I think this idea potentially goes terribly wrong.

  • I appreciate and respect each of the comments made about Reverse Giving. Sixteen years ago I first considered this idea and I, too, had concerns. I felt it might violate a Biblical law or principle, or my personal and professional ethics. I worried that it might be considered taking advantage of seniors and their generosity or faith. Believe me, I’ve spent years praying about this and considering all of these concerns. I assure you that if I thought for a minute that any of that was true, I would shut Reverse Giving down immediately. However, I don’t believe reverse giving violates Biblical laws or principles, ethical standards, or takes advantage of seniors. Unfortunately, there is not enough room here to explain why, so I would invite you to visit our FAQ page where we have addressed each of these issues. Then, if you don’t agree, please email me and let me know where I’m wrong. Thank you.

    http://www.reversegiving.org/faq.html

    Also, I’ve dedicated over 20 years of my life to the reverse mortgage industry and I would never do anything to harm it.

    Lyn R. Link
    Founder and President
    Reverse Giving

  • I appreciate and respect each of the comments made about Reverse Giving. Sixteen years ago I first considered this idea and I, too, had concerns. I felt it might violate a Biblical law or principle, or my personal and professional ethics. I worried that it might be considered taking advantage of seniors and their generosity or faith. Believe me, Iu2019ve spent years praying about this and considering all of these concerns. I assure you that if I thought for a minute that any of that was true, I would shut Reverse Giving down immediately. However, I donu2019t believe reverse giving violates Biblical laws or principles, ethical standards, or takes advantage of seniors. Unfortunately, there is not enough room here to explain why, so I would invite you to visit our FAQ page where we have addressed each of these issues. Then, if you donu2019t agree, please email me and let me know where Iu2019m wrong. Thank you.rnrnhttp://www.reversegiving.org/faq.htmlrnrnAlso, Iu2019ve dedicated over 20 years of my life to the reverse mortgage industry and I would never do anything to harm it.rnrnLyn R. LinkrnFounder and PresidentrnReverse Giving

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