Tampa Bay Times Runs Reverse Mortgage Op-Ed

In response to a recent article published this month, Tampa Bay Times ran an op-ed Friday that offered another side of the publication’s recent cover story on the challenges reverse mortgage borrowers face.

The cover story featured a senior couple who had found themselves facing foreclosure on their St. Petersburg home due to what the article had called “reverse mortgage complexities.”

The couple had taken out a reverse mortgage in 2007 “without paying much attention” to the terms of the loan, as stated in the original article. Subsequently to obtaining the loan, they couple failed to pay for homeowner’s insurance for three years in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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A letter to the editor, written by National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) President and CEO Peter Bell, aimed to clear up reverse mortgage misconceptions within the initial article.

In the letter, Bell says reverse mortgages are “beneficial” and “useful” tools to help finance an individual’s retirement, citing that the while the couple’s story is “very sad, it is not the norm for reverse mortgage borrowers.”

In the event borrowers find themselves struggling to maintain their loan responsibilities, the letter to the editor also outlined the various avenues individuals could turn to for help, such as contacting their loan servicer or housing counselor to develop a solution.

Situations like the ones experienced by the couple in the Tampa Bay Times article are “less likely” to occur today than in 2007 as a result of program changes brought about by the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013, Bell said. 

“Reverse mortgages are a useful and beneficial retirement financing tool for many Americans,” Bell wrote. “And historically the Department of Housing and Urban Development has responsibly observed the experience of borrowers and made adjustments to improve the program.” 

Read more at Tampa Bay Times.

Written by Jason Oliva

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