With the deadline for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study on reverse mortgages exactly one month away, a new reverse mortgage public education campaign launched this week as an effort by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) to raise awareness and generate conversation about the industry.
A component of NRMLA’s “Borrow with Confidence” campaign, which first went through a soft launch for industry participants in late 2011, the public education and awareness efforts now involve generating a conversation with mainstream media, trade press and social media outlets. Now with a widespread reach, it aims to engage Americans about the reverse mortgage product and raise awareness about the industry around it.
“This is another step in our industry’s effort in self regulation, and making products more transparent and consumer-friendly,” said NRMLA President and CEO Peter Bell during a call with press members Thursday.
Informing media and policy makers is an initiative of the campaign, in addition to informing the public, Bell told RMD.
“The message we’re trying to get out is we are an industry committed to to doing right by the customer. We take our responsibility seriously and have always had a self policing regime. Now we are trying to step that up a notch.”
The CFPB, which is working on a required study on the industry due July 21, has also announced a reverse mortgage-specific field hearing to take place in Tampa, Florida June 27.
As reverse mortgages come into focus for the new regulator, NRMLA is engaging lenders and is encouraging their involvement.
Lenders can assist in informing borrowers through the Borrow With Confidence campaign, Bell says. NMRLA members listed on its lender directory have signed to a pledge to borrowers and they can help in the campaign as well.
“I hope lenders will not just subscribe to the pledge, but promote it and reproduce it for clients so they are showing the industry’s commitment to being consumer-centric and putting the consumers’ needs first,” he said.
NRMLA will also utilize social media outlets including video input from borrowers in the near future.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker