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.”
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