NRMLA Conference Recap: Boston Meeting Surpasses Projections, Reveals New Guidance

Drawing more than 500 attendees from across the country, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association annual meeting and expo that took place this week in Boston presented timely topics, access to policymakers and an important decision: the industry trade group has advised its members of recommended guidance on light underwriting for tax and insurance on Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans.

The decision was announced Monday after NRMLA board members met on the topic.

“The announcement was the least of it,” said Peter Bell, NRMLA president and CEO. “It’s the coming to understand exactly what’s going on and the importance of updating the way we do the reverse mortgage busness to recognize we need to have some basis for qualifying applicants. I think it was the responsible decision.”

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Other conference sessions covered topics from online marketing to a face-to-face counseling mandate for certain HECM borrowers in Massachusetts. Attendees heard from Department of Housing and Urban Development representatives including Federal Housing Administration Acting Commissioner Carol Galante as well as HUD’s Karin Hill, Office of Single Family Program Development director; Colin Cushman, director of portfolio analysis; and several representatives from HUD’s servicing team.

In her address of the industry, Galante stated strong support for the HECM program as well as for the restoration of housing counseling funds that were slashed by Congress earlier this year.

“Carol is someone who has been a user of HUD programs and actively engaged in a company involved in HUD programs,” Bell said, noting Galante’s former roles in the private sector. “Even though she’s only been in the job three months, she comes in with a lot more upfront knowledge than others who have been in that job,” he said.

Also discussed at the conference was the status of housing counseling funding, currently under discussion by Congress. Galante stressed the importance of regaining the funds and noted her strong efforts on Capitol Hill toward that end.

Overall, the conference was well received, Bell said, with attendance exceeding expectations, especially in light of the economic time.

“As staff, we felt it was a good meeting,” he said. “A lot of [attendees] said the sessions were the best they’ve ever been.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • I agree with your remarks Peter,  This was my first time attending a NRMLA conference and I truly enjoyed it.  Not only from the informative aspect( which was exceedingly helpful to our foundation)  but also the welcoming spirit of everyone that I met.  A sincere ” thank you”  to all that made this a remarkable experience for me.

  • If the goal of the NRMLA Convention is to have the largest attendance possible, the last two have been miserable failures.  According to estimates, the higest attended Convention was 2007 with about 1,700 attendees.  While endorsements for last fiscal year were down by 37% from their peak, attendance at NRMLA has fallen off by far more.

    NRMLA might be better off having five events per year.  Two East Coast (with one as the Policy Meetings in DC ), one Midwest, and two West Coast.  Michael Banner has suggested Florida for an East Coast meeting.

    Based solely on attendance, national conventions should be in Southern California.

  • Reverse Mortgage Maven-

    Your facts are wrong. There was never a NRMLA meeting that had 1,700 people. Attendance at his year’s event surpassed our projections which we make each year based on our own internal analysis of trends in and surrounding the reverse mortgage business. The curtailment of origination by two major players was expected to take its toll on our overall attendance this year, but in the end, we were only very slightly below our 2010 attendance.

    Our goal is not to have the largest attendance possible; it is to attract those individuals who are committed enough to the reverse mortgage space to make the investment in attending and give them the best educational opportunity we can. Based on the numerous comments we have received over the past week, I think those who attended feel we have delivered on that objective.

    Five events per year would be fine — if we didn’t also have to spend time working on federal and state regulatory and legislative issues, consumer outreach, media relations, research on aging and retirement finance issues, interacting with other industry associations, answering member questions, producing a public affairs campaign, managing the CRMP program, etc., etc. Conferences take a lot of time and effort and I think that our staff and steering committee delivers a solid, substantive product year after year.

    By the way, Reverse Mortgage Maven, did you attend this year’s event?

    • Peter,

      Like many of us in the industry, cost is a prohibitive factor.  So I cannot afford to come unless it is nearby.  Of course, we are just lowly originators in whom NRMLA does not seem to have much interest.

      So if 1,700 was not the largest, what was the largest number?  I have heard it was San Diego back in 2007.  Is that also not correct?

      At one time, NRMLA tried to do six conferences with all you stated going on.  So why is five too many?  Will it now be three or four?

      I still think it is a horrible idea to go clear to Boston when Philadelphia and Baltimore are nearby.  Or go to a little city like New Orleans where nothing but Houston is close by.  Atlanta, Jacksonville, Dallas, Houston or even Orlando is better than New Orleans as far as the number of available originators and originations.

      Why am I bothering?  NRMLA has never even attempted to cater to the needs of originators.  It is truly a lenders association.     

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