NBC Today Show: Reverse Mortgage Segment, Most Positive National Coverage Yet?

NBC’s The Today Show this morning devoted a four minute segment to the topic of reverse mortgages, spelling out the details of the loans for the increasing number of people who are interested.

Seeing more questions and more interest lately from those who qualify, Today’s financial editor Jean Chatzky answered questions on reverse mortgages, how they work, and whom they are right for.


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“You can stay in your home until you die or until you’ve moved out for 12 months,” Chatzky says. “Even if you drain almost all the equity from the home, the bank can’t force you to move.”

The segment does address reverse mortgage fees, which Chatzky says can range from $2,000 to $10,000.

She also touches on the issue of home inheritance, urging potential borrowers to ask the question: why are they so attached to their homes?

“Sometimes people think their kids will be just devastated if they don’t get the house and in reality, that’s not the case. So talk about it,” she says.

“Overall, is this something that’s going to give someone who’s going into retirement some peace of mind?” asks Carl Quintanilla. “Or is this something for someone who says, ‘You know what? I always wanted that dream house in Florida, as well.’?”

“It can actually be both,” Chatzky says.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • I thought that this was one of the best interviews yet. Ms. Chazky seemed to actually have taken the time to see how Reverse Mortgages work and amd get her facts straight, maybe even talked to a good loan officer?

  • What this segment proves is people do not think before they speak.

    Is it any wonder that the interest among seniors aged 62 to 64 has gone up?  15% in a decade is hardly representative of just the growth in that population base, let alone the explosion in endorsement numbers in the last decade.  The endorsement total for fiscal 2002 was 13,000 and for fiscal 2003 it was 18,100.  Our endorsement total pace for this year is over four times what it was for fiscal 2002 at 58,500. Just to keep pace with that trend, the number of prospective borrowers aged 62 to 64 should be about 400% of what it was in 2002. With pull through rates as low as they are today, the pace would have to be closer to 600%. An annual increased rate of 15% each year of this last decade would just get us to 400%

    In 2010, those between 62 and 64 (inclusive) totaled 9.7 million per the U.S. Census report.  The Census count for 2000 was 6.2 million for that same age group.  That is a 56% increase in that age group.

    So if one is to discuss prospective borrowers between 62 and 64, the question is why has the interest only gone up by 15% in a decade?  That pace is less than the increase in that population base.  Is 15% saying the loan is more popular with younger borrowers?  Besides that the financial outlook for Boomers was they were far more likely to look at HECMs.  At this stage, that also does not appear to be the case.

    One well respected industry leader pointed out that the mode is more likely to be someone between 62 and 64 today than in prior years. There is little question that assessment is absolutely correct.

    What has created all of this wild guessing about the shift in the mode is due to the very controversial and inexact study produced by ML MMI and NCOA. Getting the facts straight and in meaningful context is very difficult at best. The study did not achieve that objective.

    I agree with Ms. Chatzky: “…pay attention to the details.”

  • My mom told me about the Today show segment and when she was telling me all the points they talked about, it sounded like my mom had gone through reverse mortgage counseling.  Every detail my mom recited was accurate.  I really appreciate when the information being given out in these news segments are accurate.  It helps when they do their research to make sure they are giving good information.

  • WOW, – 4 minutes!!!  Where was the information on the “other” Reverse Mortgage” we have available since Jan 1, 2009?

    The RM Industry has two products to offer to the senior community. The RM Industry still, as a whole,  only offrers 1 (ONE) product the FHA/HECM Reverse Mortgage!

    They and the MBA do not understand or have the ability to market to the hunrdeds of thousands Licensed REALTORS in this Nation.

    WOW, 2 products?

    I look forward to any comments and suggestions as to the RM MLO’s ideas on approching this untapped market for the FHA/HECM for Purchase Loan program.

    Please respond!!!

  • Mr. W,


    Are you saying that there is an explosion of Boomers getting HECMs?  The number of HECMs taken by Boomers today is less than the number of HECMs taken by those 62 to 64 in fiscal year 2009.  What explosion are you referencing?

    The discussion is about the average age of borrowers.  Today the pace of HECM origination is less than 60% of what it was during fiscal 2009.  All the concern about younger borrowers is greatly over stressed and distorted.

  • aliasBob,

    Thanks for the admonition.

    Please explain why you want to promote an attack on HECM borrowing by younger seniors?  Not even the Today Show has attacked HECMs as being a loan of last resort; in fact, the Show has promoted and continues to promote that position.

    All of this emphasis on how younger borrowers are now turning to HECMs as an answer is distorted.  Their endorsement numbers have not grown since fiscal 2009 nor has their numbers grown that much differently than the expectation one would have from seeing the general shift in demographics.  It was during fiscal 2000 to 2003 that an unusual shift to younger borrowers occurred.  Why is still unexplained.  I did not even take much note in reverse mortgages into spring 2004.

    HOWEVER, the shift to younger borrowers should become more pronounced as the financial community begins to accept what Drs. Sacks are promoting.  This is now the forefront of the battle about HECMs.

    The new battleground is that HECMs should become a financial consideration early in retirement planning and implementation for the more affluent.      

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