With 2015 nearing its close and 2016 just a few weeks away, it’s that time of year where RMD recaps the most-read articles covering the reverse mortgage industry in 2015.
A lot has happened in the revers mortgage space this year alone. In 2015, the industry saw the final arrival of the Financial Assessment, critical policy updates related to non-borrowing spouses, a new proprietary product and even the emergence of a new top-10 reverse mortgage lender.
Needless to say, 2015 will go down in the reverse mortgage annals as a year that welcomed momentous change and an unwavering perseverance from industry members to endure market uncertainties and continue striving for growth in helping America’s seniors.
Without further ado, here are the top-10 most read reverse mortgage news stories in 2015:
10. January 11 — Former Security One Exec Launches New Reverse Mortgage Company
In January, ex-Security 1 Lending President Torrey Larsen launched his newest venture in the reverse mortgage marketplace with the introduction of Retirement Funding Solutions, a division of Synergy One Lending. Since its inception at the beginning of this year, Synergy One has grown to become a top-15 reverse mortgage lender, with 628 loans in 2015 through November, according to the most recent industry data available from Reverse Market Insight.
9. February 24 — Urban Sweetens HomeSafe Jumbo Reverse Mortgage With New Changes
Following five months after first introducing its proprietary jumbo reverse mortgage product, HomeSafe, Finance of America Reverse (then Urban Financial of America) updated the product, improving the loan-to-value ratio and expanding its availability to an additional state.
Baby Boomers’ housing preferences are changing, and this is having an impact on whether or not they will wish to age in place in the future, according to a March report from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT). Two generations ago, most American seniors stayed in their homes for as long as physically possible. But with the rise of senior living communities over the past few decades, more older adults have chosen to live in senior housing facilities than previous generations. This shift, according to NAREIT, has largely to do with personal wealth.
7. February 19 — CFPB Report Reveals Top Reverse Mortgage Complaints
In February, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report highlighting consumers’ top complaints regarding reverse mortgages. Frustrations with loan terms, servicer turnarounds and foreclosure problems topped the list of complaints, which included data from December 2011-2014.
6. March 4 — BNY Mellon Launches Reverse Mortgage Operations
After announcing it was getting into the reverse mortgage business last year, Bank of New York Mellon made good on its promise to begin participating in the market. Though the New York-based bank and investment management advisor will not originate loans, the company said it would utilize its access to financial planners and other professionals to raise awareness about reverse mortgage merits in effective retirement plans.
5. September 10 — AAG Launches New Jumbo Reverse Mortgage Product
The second of two proprietary products launched in the reverse mortgage market this year, American Advisors Group in September introduced its AAG Advantage jumbo that allows borrowers the opportunity to borrow up to $3 million in loan proceeds. The loan, which upon its launch was available in seven states (Calif., Conn., Fla., Ill., Pa., Texas and Va.) enables qualified borrowers to obtain a reverse mortgage on properties valued at up to $6 million.
Last year, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) amended its HECM policies to allow lenders to defer foreclosure for certain eligible non-borrowing spouses for HECM case numbers assigned on or after August 4, 2014. In June 2015, FHA expanded the opportunities for non-borrowing spouses to remain in their homes by allowing similar treatment to these spouses with HECM case numbers assigned before Aug. 4, 2014.
3. February 26 — HUD Sets New Reverse Mortgage Financial Assessment Date
After months of teasing the arrival of the Financial Assessment, FHA in February finally released the final effective date for the new HECM program changes, which took place for case numbers issued on or after April 27 of this year.
2. January 29 — FHA Gives New Options for Reverse Mortgage Non-Borrowing Spouses
In late January, FHA first issued then-new guidance to allow lenders the option to delay foreclosure of non-borrowing spouses, according to Mortgagee Letter 2015-03, which has since been rescinded in May through the release of Mortgagee Letter 2015-12 (see #4 above). The January policy updated was a monumental move from FHA to increase protections for non-borrowing reverse mortgage spouses—an issue that has been highly publicized in the past in several court cases between non-borrowing spouses, the AARP Foundation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
1. February 12 — HUD To Delay Reverse Mortgage Financial Assessment Date
When HUD announced in February its decision to delay the long anticipated Financial Assessment from its original date of March 2, 2015, the news became the top read story on Reverse Mortgage Daily in all of 2015. At the time, HUD’ cited a delay in the delivery of certain system requirements required to support the policies published in previous mortgagee letters.
There you have it, the top-10 RMD news stories of 2015. Thank you for all of your ongoing readership and continued support this year. Here’s to looking ahead in 2016!
Editor’s note: The top stories list is based on traffic data received on Reverse Mortgage Daily content compiled beginning on January 1, 2015.
Written by Jason Oliva