The Reverse Mortgage Counseling Association (RMCA) will roll out a reverse mortgage borrower group on November 1 it says will serve as a benefit to the members of the group as well as lenders and the public. As a communication channel between borrowers and lenders, the group will allow the association to gather data on reverse mortgage borrowers and their experiences throughout the years they live with their reverse mortgages.
The group, called the Active Life Club, aims to gather borrowers through their lenders and the support of the 300 RMCA reverse mortgage counselors with whom they work. Lenders will be able to pay the first year’s $40 membership for borrowers, who will in turn pick up the annual fee to continue membership over the course of their reverse mortgage loans.
Through the membership, lenders will communicate with borrowers, who will in turn communicate back to the industry through twice-annual surveys and monthly newsletters.
“By having this communication with members, we’re going to hopefully reduce negative press and reduce the incidence of default in tax and insurance,” says Michael Wallace, newly appointed director of industry relations for RMCA. “The Active Life Club will give a voice to the borrowers,” he says.
The organization will also connect members with products and services that cater to their needs as reverse mortgage borrowers, such as contractors who have proven they understand the needs of this particular demographic.
The monthly e-newsletter communication will maintain a conversation between the lender and borrower, Wallace says, which might otherwise fall by the wayside. And as a neutral third party, the Active Life Club aims to bring a new voice to the table from a policy and public perception perspective.
“If this organization is successful in promoting reverse mortgages as a way to age in place, maybe some of the stigma is going to be taken away and will promote the members to say, ‘Yes, I did it and I’m happy I did it,'” he says. “This group is going to be the voice of the industry from the borrower perspective.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker