NEW YORK — The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association on Monday announced a partnership with LexisNexis to participate in a self-reporting database of industry offenses and issues.
Speaking at the trade association’s eastern conference and exhibition in New York City, NRMLA executive vice president Steve Irwin said the group’s participation in the Mortgage Industry Data Exchange (MIDEX) will help the industry step up enforcement of bad actors and burnish the reverse mortgage’s image in the eyes of the public.
“NRMLA strongly encourages our members to subscribe to and use MIDEX to report fraudulent and misrepresentative practices on our space,” Irwin said. “This arrangement will help bring MIDEX benefits to our industry, and add to the range of remedies” for malfeasance in the industry, he added.
Developed by the Dayton, Ohio-based data and research firm in the mid-1990s, MIDEX contains information from more than 14,000 data sources, including public records, deed assessments, bankruptcy filings, and voluntarily contributed non-public data, according to Nick Larson, manager of market planning for LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
Jim Brodsky, member at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Weiner Brodsky Kider PC, said the industry’s participation in MIDEX can help fill the gap between NRMLA’s ability to enforce industry ethics rules — which, Brodsky admitted, was largely limited to warning or suspending members over violations of voluntary compliance standards — and HUD’s formal review process.
Larson called the MIDEX system “the mortgage industry’s Better Business Bureau,” and noted that it allows users to find information about specific brokers or companies across state lines, eliminating the need to search multiple states’ regulatory databases.
In his presentation, Larson admitted that the “give-to-get” nature of the program, in which participants must voluntarily submit certain data about their business practices and potential regulatory actions in order to look up others, could be daunting for some members. But he pitched the system as a way that the industry could improve its standing among the general public and avoid false fraud claims.
“Mitigating fraud protects them, and it protects you as well,” Larson said.
Written by Alex Spanko