Few originators’ duties are complete after a client’s reverse mortgage has been closed. For many borrowers, these reverse mortgage specialists continue to be the first point of contact when assistance is needed with their loan.
Although some borrowers have general questions, servicing issues are often the reason why an originator hears from a borrower again.
Lynn Wertzler, president of Greenleaf Financial in Portland, Ore., said he recently had a client whose servicer erroneously cancelled his reverse mortgage line. The client found out when contacting the servicer about an unrelated homeowner’s insurance matter, and he immediately called Wertzler for help.
“He was able to get the loan reinstated, but not without being a pretty capable guy and a lot of my help,” Wertzler said. “I don’t think that would have happened without someone knowledgeable helping him.”
Tim Linger of HECM Senior Home Financing in Orlando, Fla. also spends time helping clients long after closing. To anticipate servicing problems that may arise, Linger has an “Authorization to Release Information” form that he presents to clients at application. If they opt to sign it, it gives Linger permission to call the servicer on a client’s behalf.
“The wording is very basic, but it gets me access,” Linger said.
Recently, Linger had a call from a client who was informed by the servicer that he had received his last term payment, when he actually had eight years of monthly payments remaining. After a lengthy phone call with an employee of the servicer and, finally, a manager, he was able to get clarification and resolve the problem.
“This is the kind of stuff loan officers can do to help clients after a loan is closed,” he said. “The client was very grateful.”
Aside from specific servicing issues, Wertzler also fields many general questions about the ongoing process of having a reverse mortgage. Common questions are about loan balance, amounts in the line of credit, or inquiries from spouses or adult children.
“We have calls all the time from borrowers with post-closing questions that they could probably get answered by the servicer, but they feel more comfortable speaking to us,” he said.
In addition, Wertzler observed that many times the borrowers who contact him with post-closing questions are his needs-based borrowers.
Beth Paterson, executive vice president at Reverse Mortgages SIDAC in St. Paul, Minn., commonly answers these questions, as well as assisting with servicing issues. She recently helped a borrower who wanted to draw funds from her line of credit after her reverse mortgage was assigned to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“The servicer said that a client couldn’t draw her remaining funds, and we intervened and called HUD on her behalf,” she said. “She thought I was a miracle worker.”
Written by Maggie Callahan