The government is focused on something that affects millions of older Americans: the “inherent risks” of reverse mortgages, says an ABC News segment aired on last night’s World News with Diane Sawyer.
Focusing on the issue of borrowing couples who remove one of the spouse’s name from the home title in order to qualify, the segment tells the story of Linda McMahan, a widow who had to sell her home following her husband’s passing. Because McMahan was too young to qualify for the reverse mortgage program in 2005 when her husband applied for the loan, her name was not on the title of the home.
The borrowers did go through reverse mortgage counseling in preparation for getting the loan, but didn’t fully understand the process of removing or adding a borrower from the home title, the accompanying article states.
The segment also points to TV commercials for reverse mortgages—often featuring celebrity spokesmen—as another point of concern.
However, most commercials for the financial product are more likely to encourage seniors to get information about the loan, rather than to get the loan itself, says Peter Bell, CEO and president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, in response.
Watch the segment below, or read more at ABC News.