Televangelist Pat Robertson Attempts Reverse Mortgage Advice

He may have a major following as an televangelical figure for households across the U.S., but that doesn’t make Pat Robertson an expert on the topic of reverse mortgages.

In a clip first posted on YouTube by National Mortgage Professional on Tuesday under the headline: “Pat Robertson Weighs Reverse Mortgages,” the Christian TV figure responds to a viewer question on reverse mortgages during an airing of The Christian Broadcasting Network’s show The 700 Club. 


But the advice given isn’t quite right, NMP writes in its coverage

The viewer, who is 67 years old, says she is considering a reverse mortgage but has doubts about the product. 

To her question, Robertson responds: “They [the bank or lender] will not take your house away from you as long as you are alive and live in it. When you do leave, you don’t have to pay it off, but somebody has to pay it off—the U.S. taxpayer.”

Ultimately he recommends more advice. 

“Get an advisor to help you on it,” he says. “It could be a good deal for you.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • Having occasionally observed Pat over the years both on TV and at media conventions, it is quite obvious that his mental faculties and communication skills are not what they once were. This is the first time I have ever heard him speak out on reverse mortgages.

    To date the only class of reverse mortgages that have ever received DIRECT government support from the US Treasury for reverse mortgages in that class and which were closed after September 30, 1989 are HECMs and only HECMs although it could be argued that since TARP loans were so widely spread among banks and other financial institutions the overwhelming majority of proprietary reverse mortgages that were active when the related lender or affiliated companies were under TARP have indirectly received government support through TARP.

    The important thing is that Pat was not as ridiculously critical of reverse mortgages as someone like Dave Ramsey. Pat also got two things (out of three) right. The first thing is that a reverse mortgage could be a good deal and second, is that the questioner should analyze the loan and seek the help of an adviser. Not a perfect response but a fairly good one.

  • Dave Ramsey won’t answer questions directed to him about reverse mortgages because he wants to portray a GENERAL viewpoint on these loans. If someone hits him with a specific question about them he won’t answer them. We hosted one of the nationwide conferences 2 years ago with them and our board op could see the questions queued up and there were at least 3 questions that he didn’t pull up to answer- so it said to me either he doesn’t understand them or refuses to acknowledge them because of his ALL DEBT IS BAD mantra. Otherwise I like the guy’s regular advice.

    • wealthone,

      Forgive me for disagreeing with you but Dave makes very specific comments on reverse mortgages. For example, he claims to have taken the following from a GAO report on falsehoods about reverse mortgages from the industry: “Never owe more than the value of your home – If your loan exceeds the value of your home, you or your heirs will have to make up the difference if the home isn’t sold when the loan is due.”

      It seems that neither GAO nor Dave have heard of deeds in lieu of foreclosure nor for that matter foreclosures on a non-recourse mortgage. Dave is specifically declaring in that quote that somehow reverse mortgages are NOT fully non-recourse. You can find the foregoing and other interesting statements by Dave on reverse mortgages at:

      Here is the conclusion Dave makes on reverse mortgages in that same 2011 article titled “The Ugly Truth of Reverse Mortgages”: “If you or anyone you know is considering a reverse mortgage—stop now! If money is short, cut back on your lifestyle. Sell your house and get something more affordable to free up money for your needs.”

      Dave begins the article by saying: “You may have heard that a reverse mortgage will give you a ‘lifetime income’ or you’ll ‘never lose your home.’ These misleading claims helped lenders convince nearly 115,000 people to buy one of the worst financial products out there in 2009.”

      Or try a CBS report where Dave tells the interviewer: “Reverse mortgages have the highest interest rates. They are also often fraudulent…. All in all, a bad idea.” Here Dave proclaims that often reverse mortgages are fraudulent. Really? Even more so than forward mortgages or other forms of debt? Do reverse mortgages really have THE HIGHEST interest rates? These are once again very specific claims regarding reverse mortgages. Yet Dave does recommend forward mortgages.

      Go to the following for the whole report:

      So I do not get your points about Dave. The Dave you present is not the same Dave that I have heard and read over the years. Yes, Dave is against most forms of debt but most prudent people try to avoid debt whenever possible unless it will help their future. Dave preys on those tendencies by selling books, programs, and yes, just like the real estate gurus, mentoring to people who are already in debt (go further in debt with Dave). At times what Dave says helps but not all of the time. There is so much more but neither time nor space permits me that liberty.

      • I agree with everything you said. He hates reverse but won’t get into real details about it because, like you said, it doesn’t sell books or fees from his live presentations. I too don’t have the time to go into greater details.

      • wealthone,

        Like the normal distribution (or bell shaped) curve, I have some knowledge about the largest part of what Dave has stated about reverse mortgages but lack any definitive knowledge about “the tails.” You on the other hand claim proficiency in knowing the whole curve including “the tails” of the Dave Ramsey reverse mortgage bell shaped curve.

        Your comment two days ago made it sound like Dave was all but silent on the topic of reverse mortgages which he is not! He puts them in a special category for his own particular brand of abuse. He calls them “often fraudlent,” having “the HIGHEST interest rates” (emphasis added), and uses a quotation which is inaccurate but through it implies that they are not fully non-recourse. But there is more, much more he has stated about them.

        The three quotes seem specific but in any case they are a pack of Dave’s own special brand of reverse mortgage myth. Dave is full of stage antics and anecdotal information which is not always readily verifiable. Yet where is his formal education in finance? He has no skin in that game yet his website promotes him as a “personal finance expert.”

        I respect Pat Robertson for telling listeners to get help from advisers about reverse mortgages rather than letting his own (and at times inaccurate) comments stand alone, while Dave, “personal finance expert” that he is, does not recommend finding out about reverse mortgages from those who just might know more about them than he does.

        As to reverse mortgages, who is the flimflam man, Dave or Pat? Is there any question about it? And I ask as no fan of Pat Robertson.

      • wealthone,

        With people like Dave out there falsely attacking HECMs the way HE does, no one in our industry is a winner.

        Have a good one!

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