Reverse Mortgage Endorsements Rise 9.9% in August

Reverse mortgage origination numbers remained low in August, but lenders still saw their second increase of the summer.

The 3,197 loans generated were enough to give the industry a 9.9% overall boost, according to the most recent set of data from Reverse Market Insight.

“That’s the third lowest total in the past 12 months, but importantly, it’s also the second month of growth since the June total of 2,838,” the Dana Point, Calif.-based analytics firm noted in its monthly report.

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Those gains were seen across the United States, with all 10 regions showing improvement — paced by the Mid-Atlantic region, with 28.2% growth over the previous month.

Among the top 10 lenders, six registered origination increases, with industry leader American Advisors Group rising from 797 to 839. Reverse Mortgage Funding, Liberty Home Equity Solutions, and HighTechLending declined despite the overall rising tide for the industry; Fairway Independent, meanwhile, saw 72 loans in both months for no change.

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage numbers have been on a steady decline since a peak of 6,313 in January, as lenders cleared out the bumper crop of loans for borrowers who received case numbers prior to the implementation of lower principal limit factors on October 2. August represented the first month since May with more than 3,000 endorsements.

RMI’s “HECM Lenders” update includes only Federal Housing Administration-approved reverse mortgage lenders; a complete look at both FHA and non-FHA lenders is released separately. Among the FHA group, seven fewer lenders originated a loan in August as compared to July.

Last month, counseling data from Ibis Software Corporation showed that these monthly origination numbers could continue into the fall: In July, reverse mortgage counseling firms saw 7,198 visits, and only about half of those sessions ever result in an endorsed HECM loan.

For comparison, in the lead-up to the new rules last fall, counselors saw a peak of 17,059 prospective reverse mortgage borrowers in a single month.

Written by Alex Spanko

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  • Note that there were 23 working days in August, and only 21 in July. That’s a 9.5% increase. In August, HUD endorsed 139 HECM’s per working day. In July it was 138.5 per working day. So I wouldn’t get too excited about the 9.9% increase in total endorsements.

    • Very true, and we’ll just have to see how the industry does in September and the next few months on a working days endorsement rate to know where we’re truly at on HECM volume recovery.

      • John,

        But if case number assignments grew by 50% for August 2018 over that number for July 2018, would your outlook for December 2018 endorsements be based on the same volume per day in endorsed HECMs as for August 2018 or would it be almost 50% higher? The reason why the per day endorsement production was close for two months has more to do with case number assignments in the four months previous to the endorsement counts than the number of working days in either month. Certainly that pattern is true for fiscal 2009 compared to fiscal 2018, assuming that the conversion rates are about the same.

  • Let us look at facts not covered. For three months in a row we have had endorsement totals less than the total for April 2018 which was the first month pointed to as the nadir for endorsements following the 10/2/2017 changes.

    We also know that based on recent case number assignment data, there is a strong chance that the endorsement count for either September 2018 or October 2018 (perhaps both) will be lower than the endorsement count for April 2018, which was the nadir for monthly endorsement counts following the 10/2/2017 changes.

    It is expected that based on the slow climb in month-to-month endorsement growth since June 2018 and poor case number assignment performance, fiscal 2019 will be the lowest fiscal year for endorsements since fiscal year 2005.

    • EricSD,

      What a great attitude after the turmoil and disruption the industry has suffered. Can you point to what it is that is giving you such cheer in the midst of the nine year downturn the industry has experienced?

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