Reverse mortgage industry advocacy group the Coalition for Independent Seniors went to Washington last week on a mission to provide outreach and education on the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program.
Since its inception in 2010, CIS has conducted more than 100 meetings on Capitol Hill. Through meetings with more than 18 different offices over the course of CIS’s “fly-in,” last week, the group also presented an award to Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) for his contributions on the Hill toward the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program’s support and stability. The visits coincided with the release of a reverse mortgage industry study conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which aims to inform policy on the program going forward.
“In this most recent fly-in we continued to be most impressed with the staff and with the level of engagement and their questions,” said West Richards, CIS executive director. “They wanted to understand more.”
The group says it is taking a strong approach to working with government overall, across parties and all of Congress.
“It occurred to me during the course of the fly-in how vital this work on Capitol Hill, meeting with Representatives and Senators, was and is,” says Carl Rojas, CIS board member and CFO of Generation Mortgage. “Uncle Sam is one the most important industry stakeholders – they need to know who is out there making these programs work for thousands of seniors – and what we need from them to do it more effectively.”
But further, CIS recognized Rep. Latham for his efforts on Capitol Hill, and for supporting the HECM program in past years when it needed support most.
“Rep. Latham values the HECM program and has shown he is pro-counseling in general, and in 2010 he stood up to say that the elder class was an equal among the protected classes,” Richards says. “We considered all of these issues for the first annual award of CIS recognition on the Hill.”
Latham has provided consistent support for HECM counseling funds as well as overall support for the program.
“It reminded all of us that at the end of the day, there are a short-list of industry champions,” Rojas said. “We need to recognize the current short list, including Latham and collectively grow that list of champions. It’s every senior’s right to have these programs available for their own needs.”
CIS is a coalition of eight reverse mortgage member-companies comprising lenders, servicers and affiliates.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker