NRMLA Conference Draws Investors, HUD Officials to New York

Lenders and investors from across the country as well as New York City gathered last week to discuss reverse mortgage industry topics including a first-ever securitization forum devoted to the secondary market for reverse mortgage loans.

The introduction of the securitization portion of the conference drew investors and HMBS traders to discuss issues such as marketing challenges and securitization of the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Saver.

“It’s important to shed light on the securitization process because that’s where the capital comes from that drives this business,” said Peter Bell, NRMLA president and CEO. “Some people might not understand it, so it’s good to create conversation around it.”

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With a higher-than expected turnout and panel topics ranging from baby boomer marketing to policy, fraud prevention and corporate social responsibility, the conference also featured conversation with Federal Housing Administration officials in support of the HECM program.

“There is enthusiasm for the HECM product,” said Karin Hill, director of HUD’s Office of Single Family Program Development. “HUD totally agrees with the importance of this product and we know there are a number of things we need to do to make sure the product is sustainable and is effectively being managed.”

Additional discussion covered development of a reverse mortgage financial assessment toward reducing tax and insurance defaults and marketing the HECM Saver and Purchase products. The overarching issues, however, relate more closely to the political climate in Washington and the economic health of FHA, Bell said.

“The biggest issue is the political environment and the future of FHA. It’s not a HECM issue,” he said. “We have an administration budget fairly supportive of HUD and a house budget committee that looks to cut HUD and other agencies back further than the administration. Any discussion now is inconclusive.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • The increase in tax and insurance defaults continues to rise.  Everyone agrees something needs to be done, yet actions do not match words.

    We keep hearing about Savers and HECMs for purchase with no real impact on endorsement levels.  This has been a fiscal year of a lot of activity in these areas.  Will we see much improvement in these numbers soon?

    With so many Democrats now taking on the mantle of conservatives to counter outcries over Health Care and the growing debt, Mr. Bell is right to be concerned about the political environment.  Unlike Mr. Bell, while I remember HUD being very supportive, I do not remember the Democratic Congress of 2009 and 2010 or this White House being so.

    We need the cap on the number of HECM endorsements permanently removed.  That did not happen when Democrats  controlled both Congress and the White House under either the Clinton or Obama Administrations.  One has to wonder how supportive are the Democrats when it comes to the HECM program.  Is it merely lip service?  There are areas where we need Congress to make this program permanent including the lending limit of $625,500.  

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